Golf course a loser
In response to Craig Shaw’s letter on the Oak Knoll Golf Course on Nov. 26:
The Oak Knoll Golf Course has been losing money since councilor Rich Rosenthal wrote his eye-opening piece “Challenging times for Oak Knoll Golf Course” in 2006. But, after identifying the issues, Rosenthal and the council did little if anything over the past 13 years to make the course a sustainable city asset.
Craig Shaw states that golf course losses of $125,000 on average a year for the last 13 years are “a black flyspeck” for him. However, to pay about this amount for one police officer, the council raised the meals tax by 11 percent. For a second officer, they raised our utility bills once again.
In addition, citing an average of $125,000 per year is deceptive because the annual losses have now reached almost $300,000 per year for each of the past two years. Losses are projected to grow to an “eye-popping” $500,000 a year by the 2021-23 budget if things remain the same. I can assure Shaw that cumulative and growing losses of $1.7 million over the past 13 years aren’t “a black flyspeck” for most people in Ashland.
Citizens on the budget committee have voiced concern about the fiscal direction of the golf course since 2015 but have been ignored. I enjoy playing golf, too, but two-thirds of the public golf courses in Oregon either make money or at least break even, so why shouldn’t our golf course be in that group?
The 2019-2021 budget process will begin in early 2019. I hope Craig Shaw can attend those meetings and help bring about a more robust discussion about how hard-earned taxpayer funds are being spent.