Council eyes data on golf course funds

After a lot of debate Tuesday night, the fate of the Golf Course Commission’s role in managing the A

After a lot of debate Tuesday night, the fate of the Golf Course Commission’s role in managing the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course still is undecided.

The Common Council tabled a proposal to amend the City Charter to give the council and mayor greater control over operation of the golf course. Mayor Ann Thane’s proposed amendments would change the role of the Golf Course Commission to an advisory panel, with the mayor and Common Council making most of the decisions regarding management, personnel and fees at the facility.

Thane said she wanted more oversight of the Golf Course Commission after she said it came to her attention that the golf course’s surplus was being exhausted.

Debate took nearly 45 minutes during the meeting, and three people spoke during the following 15-minute public comment period. Alderman Daniel Roth, R-2nd Ward, said he would call a special committee meeting next week to further discuss the situation.

Golf Course Commission Chairman Frank Natale said the current membership has only been governing the golf course since 2004. Since that time, figures show that use of the surplus has stabilized, he argued.

Records of the golf course’s surplus from 1999-2007 from Controller Heather Reynicke show that the commission had a balance of $403,305 for the 1999-2000 fiscal year and $165,967 for the 2004-05 fiscal year. Since that fiscal year, the current commission has only used $4,285.

Natale admitted that the course wasn’t making a lot of money. He contends it was largely due to conditions outside of the commission’s control, including the cost of labor and insurance.

Natale said more than 60 percent of the commission’s budget is personnel, labor and insurance costs, which are calculations given to the commission from the golf course superintendent, James Derrick.

Alderwoman Kim Brumley, C-3rd Ward, said she wanted to see the motion tabled until the Common Council had a clearer picture of the commission’s financial situation. She said she keeps getting conflicting numbers, “from the same person, even.”

“We are having a meeting about a crisis that many not even exist,” she said.

Commission member Ronald Barone said he was pleased that the Common Council took no action on the resolution Tuesday night. He said golf course budget figures show that the current commission is doing a good job.

“It’s my opinion that if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said.

Thane said she had hoped that the proposal would pass and she hopes to have a resolution by the start of the golf season on April 1.

“Finally, after all these years, we will have some planning and we will start to discuss and move this situation forward,” she said.

Thane said that seeking more oversight of the Golf Course Commission is not an attack on commission members. But she wants to see city government take greater control and responsibility for operations, she said.

In other business, the council approved a resolution changing the City Charter to allow preferential treatment to city residents for city jobs. No one spoke in opposition to the amendment during a public comment period before the regular meeting.

Categories: Schenectady County

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