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$25 Amsterdam Muni course fee increase likely to stand

$25 Amsterdam Muni course fee increase likely to stand

The cost to play at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course will likely remain as advertised despite

The cost to play at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course will likely remain as advertised despite projections the 182-acre course will run at a deficit this year.

The Common Council is holding a special meeting Tuesday to consider overriding the veto Mayor Ann Thane issued to a new fee structure she believes is inadequate.

Common Council members this week approved the new membership rates developed by the city’s golf commission, which boost the cost of most membership levels by $25.

With the city facing an estimated $1.7 million deficit for next year, Thane earlier this month called for a 20 percent increase in fees, which would hike the regular membership to $750 a year.

Under the rate structure approved by the Common Council, regular members will pay $650 compared with last season’s annual membership fee of $625.

The golf course needs upgrades for drainage, clubhouse improvements and cart paths that could cost as much as $400,000.

“They have all these capital projects that are necessary and coming down the pike and then they have a shortfall in the proposed fee schedule, so how is this being responsibly managed?” Thane said Friday.

The Common Council created the golf commission in the 1980s to manage the course designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. back in the 1930s.

The five-member commission consists of volunteers with oversight on the operation which, according to its budget request to the city, anticipates revenues to reach $570,346 for the upcoming season.

The city has spent roughly $46,000 each year during each of the past two years to accommodate the golf course’s cost of about $660,000, according to the city’s draft budget and the Golf Commission’s budget request.

Despite the cost and likelihood that city taxpayers who don’t play golf will be paying to keep rates down at the golf course, Third Ward Alderwoman Gina DeRossi said a 20 percent increase as suggested by Thane is a bad idea so close to the April 1 season opening.

“If you’re going to do something on such a large scale, you definitely need time to prepare,” DeRossi said.

“For seniors on a fixed income, an over $125 increase for the next year I just felt that was a little bit too drastic and too late,” DeRossi said.

DeRossi said she is expecting to hold meetings with the golf commission to explore ways of increasing revenue, such as having private contractors maintain the greens instead of the city’s DPW department.

And adding tournaments, De-Rossi said, could attract more people to the course.

“I think it’s a very large asset for our city to have. You can’t go just anywhere in the area and get a Robert Trent Jones golf course,” DeRossi said.

Golf Commission chairman Ronald Barone Jr., who also serves as Amsterdam Third Ward supervisor on the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, could not be reached for comment Friday.

The special meeting is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. in Common Council Chambers at City Hall.

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