Summer Smiles, Grad Gifts, and Great Giveaways
- May 31, 2023
The Lycoming County Commissioners have extended their agreement with Billy Casper. Casper will continue to oversee all operations of White Deer Golf Course until 2021. I have yet to see the new and improved contract as my Right to Know Request is currently in customs. I did hear that the County tweaked some wording, and
The Lycoming County Commissioners have extended their agreement with Billy Casper. Casper will continue to oversee all operations of White Deer Golf Course until 2021. I have yet to see the new and improved contract as my Right to Know Request is currently in customs. I did hear that the County tweaked some wording, and can now terminate any time without penalty, and should the course not turn a profit in 2019, Billy will also make up the difference. Interesting.
The vote was delayed after much discussion. I wasn’t there, but it brought back many memories. Some questioned why the County continued to subsidize this golf course. The Commissioners have said that they no longer want to support White Deer financially, but they have done quite the opposite. We will touch on this a little later. Others wanted to know if any plans were moving forward. Rumors say the County had some sort of contingency already in place. Selling the course, developing the land, or making White Deer a 27-hole facility. Mum is still the word. One suggested the Commissioners create a new committee to look at other options — another brilliant idea that was tabled.
The Commissioners approved the extension after a 2-1 vote this past week. Mr. McKernan and Mr. Mussare said yes. Mr. Mirabito said no. Rounds and revenues are way down. But to Casper’s credit, they have watched their spending. The course still hopes to breakeven in 2018. Quite impressive after a dismal rain-filled season. I have seen the numbers, and the jury is still out, but Casper officials have already requested an additional $60k to get through the winter. I don’t know where this funding actually comes from, nor do I think it will be reimbursed.
The Lycoming County Commissioners decided to take over the reins. They made this unprecedented move in the winter of 2016. The County assumed total control, hired Billy Casper Golf Management, and removed the Lycoming County Recreation Authority. The original agreement paid Casper $75K each year for their services. The County was lead to believe that a highly profitable culture was coming to WDGC. Hmm.
So the County has given Casper over $650K the past three years. That’s a lot of money kids. We have additionally paid off a few lines of credit and continue to pay the $360K LCRA loan. The County also gave Casper one million dollars for improvements and upgrades. Originally, the County went with a management company to help increase revenues and eliminate the taxpayer’s burden. OK.
Look, I have nothing but love and respect for White Deer Golf Course. I sincerely want this to all work out, but I fear for its future. I agree that Casper has done a decent job considering, but the County still fails to realize that golf is on a downward trend. No one is playing, and the success of our facility solely relies on the weather.
I think the County should subsidize our golf course, and I have no idea why our Commissioners insist that we don’t. We fork out large amounts to several others in the form of tax dollars. Millions of dollars go to the Library and Visitor’s Bureau each year. That’s another story for another time kids. We also paid half of the new IPT terminal. Brilliant and impressive stuff, but we still only have two flights a day.
I would hope the Commissioners would be more transparent and include the public on future decisions regarding White Deer. I would start by coming up with a long-term plan and being honest with the taxpayers. They recently passed the 2019 Unbalanced Budget. Does anyone know why White Deer Golf Course or Billy Casper were never mentioned? I seriously looked at the 378-page detail. I found how much money is allocated for pens and paper with the Assessment Office, but I still can’t find anything on golf. Cheers.
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