City needs to get out of the golf business

Regarding Rikki King’s Oct. 16 article, “Lynnwood reviewing vendors for golf course”: What do you expect would happen to a renter who had not paid their rent in nearly four years? Nothing, if you are the city of Lynnwood, which has not made any rent payments to the Edmonds Community College for the 45 acres leased as part of the city’s failed golf course for the last four years.

The city’s lease with the college requires it to pay half its net operating income for the last 10 years of the lease (2011-2021) as rent payment; yet the city has paid zero dollars in rent since Nov. 2009.

The golf course’s net operating income has decreased in a straight line from a high of about $450,000 in 2001 to $20,600 in 2012; this despite an illegal, long-term loan of $1.3 million from the city’s utility fund that the state auditor said, “violates state law as the use of this money.” Lynnwood in arrears for over $34,000 since 2009, not counting interest and the debt is climbing.

So what is the city’s solution to this financial crisis? Hire a third party contractor to manage the golf course. Exactly how does the city expect to save money by paying a middleman to operate the golf course, when it cannot even repay its own loan? Even though the city advertised to subcontract the golf course management in August, it has yet to award a contract, possibly because there are no takers for this losing operation.

Two city employees were reprimanded by the state last July for over-applying highly toxic, carcinogenic pesticides at the golf course, potentially contaminating groundwater; and failing to keep accurate records as required by law. Polluted runoff from the golf course taints Perrinville Creek and increased runoff from the lawn areas erodes the creek.

Lynnwood should take notice of its neighbor to the south. Mountlake Terrace tried exactly the same failed ideas at its Ballinger Golf Course and finally came to the realization that it was better to convert their toxic biological desert into a passive native plant park for birding and hiking that is non-polluting. Lynnwood should do the same.

William Lider

Lynnwood

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