Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to “An Open Letter To The Wellington Village Council” by Morley Alperstein, published last week.
As a taxpayer and one who enjoys a round of golf, I don’t want to own/maintain/operate a golf course.
Generally speaking, government should not be acquiring such assets, mostly because government does not do a good job of operating and maintaining such assets. Over time, us taxpayers will end up subsidizing its operation, and end up with an asset that needs substantial capital. If you don’t believe me, look up recent articles about the West Palm Beach municipal golf course.
In 2009, West Palm Beach shelled out $3 million to update its 1947 golf course. Since that city didn’t have another $3 million to bring the clubhouse up to code, nor another $5 million to replace it, they spent taxpayer money to tear it down last year. Today, city commissioners are debating what to do with their deteriorating asset, including getting help from the private sector to forge some kind of the public-private partnership.
There are five HOAs intertwined within the Binks course’s fairways. If the majority of the homeowners are worried about properties losing value should the course fail, they should seriously consider acquiring the course under an equity-ownership structure, converting it to a semi-private venue. The surrounding 500-plus homeowners could raise the capital to acquire and update the golf course, including the annual dues to cover its operating costs, net of whatever proceeds come in from the general public. When someone buys/sells their home, they buy/sell their shares of ownership in the course. Problem solved.
If the current ownership of the Binks Forest Golf Club wants to move the asset off its balance sheet, then sell it to the highest bidder, but not to the village.
Clinton Glass, Wellington