Solving Lexington's Budget Dilemma
In today's coverage of the Lexington City Council's bowing to city employees protesting health coverage that's more in line with what is available in the private market, we were amused to read this line:
"We are in a bad recession, and there's no fat in our budget," Gray said after the meeting. "We've been considering options to improve health insurance, but we are going to have to cut someplace to pay for those changes."
We've written for years on an obvious opportunity for the city to save at least $1 million dollars - by reducing, eliminating or selling the city's oversupply of public golf courses. In July 2010 we wrote:
In terms of revenue, golfers in Lexington paid about $3.4 million dollars to play on Lexington's courses in 2009, a sum the city will have been lucky to reach in 2010. Netted against the $4.3 million in expenses, the result is an annual deficit of nearly $1 million. This deficit is more than the city's budget for special programs, which includes holiday events, festivals and arts funding.
While Lexington's golf courses are routinely bailed out of million dollar losses, the entrepreneurs and employers who operate golf businesses do not have that luxury. They must compete for customers with an operation that can lose money regularly but still survive. Instead of constantly improving, they are forced to cut corners and forgo improvements in order to compete with Lexington's artificially low prices.
Lexington's losses degrade the golf experience in the entire region.
Instead of maintaining the status quo of losing money, Lexington deserves an alternative.
Lexington's golf budget today is not improved. Not only could the city potentially save by cutting losses on golf, the city could actually generate revenue by bidding out operations or selling assets.
It is laughable for Mayor Gray to say there's no fat in the Lexington budget while golf continues to lose over $1 million each year.