Share this article

print logo

Legislator suggests selling county golf course

Niagara County should sell its golf course, County Legislator John Syracuse said last week.

Syracuse, R-Newfane, is offering a resolution at Tuesday's Legislature meeting that would direct County Manager Gregory D. Lewis to draw up a request for proposals from prospective buyers and advertise the sale within 45 days.

Lewis did not return a call seeking comment Friday, but in the fall of 2004 he recommended that the Legislature sell the Davison Road course.

The proposal came up at a Public Works Committee meeting that November. However, at the time, no one else would support the measure.

The course is budgeted to cost $498,201 in 2006.

It includes three full-time jobs. Golf Director Thomas Yaeger earns $35,360; a greenskeeper is paid $38,064; and a groundskeeper is paid $31,179.

In addition, there is a part-time clerk for $15,161, and 18 seasonal workers are hired for the summer.

Syracuse said, "We should go along with the county manager's statements that we should provide only the goods and services the private sector doesn't provide."

But like in November 2004, there wasn't much support for Syracuse's proposal from top lawmakers Friday.

"The golf course doesn't really cost us anything, so I don't know why he would want to do that unless he knows someone who wants to buy it," said Minority Leader Dennis F. Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls.

Said Majority Leader Malcolm A. Needler, R-North Tonawanda: "I understand Greg's point of view, but I can't see selling something just to sell it. It's one of the departments in the county that makes money."

Budget Director Daniel R. Huntington said the course's 2005 figures aren't in yet, and Yaeger could not be reached Friday.

The course, which is set up as an "enterprise fund" that is supposed to be self-sustaining, lost $21,000 in 2004, which was an unusually rainy summer.

The 2005 county budget assumed the golf course would make a profit of at least $90,000.

"I'm hearing conflicting numbers," Syracuse said. "If it's making money, it would be even more attractive to the private sector."

In 2005, the course charged $16 for an 18-hole round on weekdays and $19 on weekends.

Virtuoso said if it were sold, "You wouldn't be able to golf for those kinds of prices. A private entity is in a profit-making mode. The way we have it structured now, it provides a recreational opportunity for the people at no cost to the county. It's a quality of life issue."


There are no comments - be the first to comment