LETTER: Citizens should demand sale of city golf course

Jun. 12, 2013 @ 04:59 AM

To the Editor:

On June 6, The Sanford Herald carried an article about the future of the city of Sanford’s municipal golf course. Every Lee County resident should be grateful for this coverage.

Without the efforts of Sanford City Councilman Charles Taylor, this albatross around city taxpayers' necks would hardly be mentioned. Mr. Taylor initiated action by the city council to prepare a “Request for Information to Provide Golf Management Services for the Sanford Municipal Golf Course.” The RFI makes it clear that city is not committed to acting upon responses.

The city course loses tens of thousands of dollars a year. It also competes directly with other privately owned golf courses in the area. A government should never compete for revenue with private enterprises.

Councilmen J. D. Williams and Walter McNeil have made it quite clear that they are happy to have taxpayers in their wards pay for others in the city and surrounding areas to play golf. I suggest that Mr. Williams and Mr. McNeil survey their constituents and find out how many rounds of golf they play each year. The survey would reveal that their constituents are paying for others that could easily afford to play anywhere they wish.

Those in the city government who are ardent supporters of the golf course claim that it is of great recreational benefit to city residents. Yet, records are not maintained to show just where the golfers who play the course live. Most of them likely live outside the city.

Before the council votes to raise taxes by seven cents per $100, city residents should demand that the golf course be sold, even for one dollar. This prime real estate could become a residential development. Revenue from these properties could allow for taxes to be substantially lowered instead of raised.

It is time that power-hungry politicians consider what is best for taxpayers.

Randy Todd