To the editor,
I read with interest, and some dismay, the letter by Mary Davis, titled, “Let voters decide on golf course.” Why dismay? Well, for starters, Ms. Davis is sadly lacking in facts about the golf course and also responding purely based upon emotion.
She states, and I quote, “Golf courses are used by a select few and are costly to maintain.” Let’s analyze this statement. The golf course is not used by a “select” few. On any given day, over one hundred golfers avail themselves of this borough gem. As stated recently in this newspaper, Ray Lennon pointed out that nearly 23,000 rounds of golf are played in a typical year. This is hardly a “select” few. Do the math. As to cost of maintenance, the total annual outlay by the town’s taxpayers for maintaining the golf course appears to be in the $60,000 range, according to the town budget. The remainder of the cost for maintaining the course is paid for by the fees charged each player for each use of the course. It amounts to about $500,000 per year. These are the facts, not the emotion, of maintaining the golf course.
Let us now compare the $60,000 “cost” of maintaining Hop Brook with the cost of maintaining the town’s other sports venues and parks. The town budget states that it costs about $1.2 million per year to maintain and light the various ball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts, etc. There is not a penny of revenue collected from the users of these facilities. These services are provided free of charge to all residents. If the golf course were converted to more fields and sports venues, as Ms. Davis suggests, the costs for maintaining them would undoubtedly rise well above $1.2 million. These are the facts, Ms. Davis.
Full disclosure, I am a golfer and recognize that Hop Brook is an absolute gem for the Borough of Naugatuck. Many non-residents make the trip to play and spend their money in our community. I personally pay over $1,000 per year in greens fees and cart rentals to play golf. Ms. Davis, how much do you spend for you and your family to use and enjoy our parks and fields? I venture it is zero, nada, zilch, nothing. As a taxpayer, I also pay to provide these valuable venues to our residents, and I would not have it any other way.
So, in conclusion, let’s get the fantasy and emotion out of the budget discussions and look for real and realistic cuts.
George L. Sirois