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Setting the Record Str8 – Part Deux

with: Jamie Spencer
     
 

Where are you going with this Spencer? So my inbox is full of questions. Simple. I can't go a day without someone bringing up the good times from the fairway bunkers. Yes. Everything happens FORE a reason and I no longer wear cologne on Tuesday AMs. But I do miss my old coworkers and friends. Again my problem lies with the system and how it all went down kids. That's all. The County had other options last spring but everything was already determined and that is why I am setting the record str8 on White Deer Golf Course.
Part Deux. 
Casper Golf was originally "retained by the Lycoming County Commissioners to conduct an independent assessment on the operational aspects of White Deer Golf Course" in the summer of 2015. It cost us taxpayers $18k. The meandering opinion revealed administrative dysfunction, inefficient marketing strategies, outdated equipment, poor course conditions and declining rounds and revenues. But the report also served as a detailed "sales pitch" and gave the County a bogus ultimatum: maintain the status quo or create a "highly profitable culture" by hiring Casper Golf. Brilliant stuff. So where do we sign Matt? 
But this wasn't the Commissioner's call. Well. Not according to law. The decision had to come from the long time governing body- the Lycoming County Recreation Authority. Sure the LCRA had their share of mishaps over the years but as I told you last week- Municipal AUTHORITIES are established FORE a reason. #alaskanair. 
Billy thought otherwise. "During our visits to WDGC, it was apparent that the Authority is contributing to the dysfunction as they are more involved in the day to day operations than is advisable." #casperreport. 
Here we go. The lengthy process of "finding" a new management company was underway and everything was put on hold FORE five grueling months. It was an absolute nightmare kids. But when ARE Commissioners caught wind the LCRA wanted to go ANOTHER route- they immediately stepped in and said no. #exhibitA. 
Several of us voiced our concerns and informed ARE Commissioners the current scenario didn't warrant a third party to share in the profits. You see the County COULD NOT lease the facility because of the exempt status of the bonds. There was also a clause in the original deed. I'm not an attorney but my sister is. 
Our last minute pleas were to no avail as the Commissioners got rid of the authority and agreed to HIRE Billy Casper. Is this legal? Paying them $70,000 a year and picking up the tab on several hefty expenses. They approved $370k for sand and another $365k on a sprinkler in 2016 alone. Oh and there's more. Thousands FORE new tractors and hundreds towards new phones. They also made improvements to the septic, fancy designer carpets and a brand new POP machine in the restaurant. Good lord. #peoplewillcomeRay. 
It's important to note that MOST but not all of these capital improvements were funded by the huge savings realized in 2012 by refinancing the 2006 bonds but no one noticed until 2015. It must be nice to go on a million dollar spree with someone else's money. 
I was curious on exactly how much the County was spending and what they were taking in. So I attended the preliminary 2017 budget review at James V. Brown Library. Sparse crowd kids. I only counted twelve. I simply wanted to know why WDGC or Casper wasn't ever mentioned in their unbalanced budget.
"The Golf Course is not listed on the County's 2017 Budget because it's an entity under the Lycoming Recreation Authority." 
Um. No. That's not the case Beth. The County assumed total control, hired a third party and actually disbanded the Authority in March. #crickets. I also learned the County picked up the $355k bond payment. But they were "hoping" Casper would soon help. #cantmakeitup. What's next? Changing the name? 
Whitey Deere is already off to a sluggish start in 2017. But thankfully our County Commissioners "gave" Casper another $150k to cover the bills. #1/27. Now add 20 inches of recent snow to the mix. Ouch. This doesn't look good at all sport fans. I feel terrible for my non golfing tax paying friends. 
"This is the year that it really kicks off." #tony. I would certainly hope so. Considering you just spent a million dollars on improvements and you help pay the bills. Look. I sincerely want this to work as I have nothing but love for White Deer Golf Course. But the County fails to realize that golf is on a downward national trend. People just aren't playing anymore. And no matter how much money you spend- WDGC is still located in North Central PA where the weather dictates everything. We will never be the golf capital of the world. 
I have lots more to share on this particular issue that is close to my heart but I won't bore you anymore. My 25-page assessment is currently available for $29.95 on Amazon. Perhaps our three County Commissioner's should do the right thing and buy one. There were plenty other options boys. #cheers.