I recently attended the community meeting concerning the city of Everett budget deficit. Much to no one’s surprise, some of the solutions the city proposes is to close things like the parks and pool. One of the ideas the city is pursuing is to sell Walter E. Hall golf course and park to pay off a $8 million loan balance from the 1998 renovation of Legion Memorial Golf course. I was a little shocked to find out that the cost of the renovation was just under $6 million dollars. I’m a little concerned with how our city manages our hard earned tax dollars — 16 years of loan payments that don’t even cover the interest?
The city states that Walter E. Hall golf course is losing money. I don’t understand how a golf course that has nearly 60,000 rounds of golf played annually (top five most in the state) with green fees averaging around $30 per player, along with cart rentals, restaurant sales and golf shop sales could possibly be losing money? I estimate the golf course must have a gross income in the neighborhood of $2.5 million or more. This should be much more than enough income to cover the costs of running a golf course and even make a sizable profit that could go toward funding other programs like the pool, library or other city parks that generate zero income but cost money to maintain, unless of course our money is being grossly mismanaged.
I think it’s safe to say if the city can’t manage to make money or at least break even on one of the most popular and busiest golf courses in the state of Washington, how mismanaged are our tax dollars elsewhere? Is selling off our parks and recreation areas going to be how we solve the mismanagement of our public dollars?