Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Neosho committee questions golf transfer

Neosho committee questions golf transfer
A proposal to pay down Neosho’s golf course debt with part of the proceeds from a one-eighth-cent capital improvement sales tax that now funds economic development was not well received by wholesale golf equipment some members of the Economic Development Sales Tax Committee on Tuesday.
Council members and city staff reviewed roughly half of next fiscal year’s proposed budget Tuesday, with finance director Martha Mundt explaining the numbers as councilmen asked questions and provided insight and direction. The process will resume at a second budget work session scheduled for 6 p.m. next Tuesday at the Civic.
The municipal golf course dominated much of Tuesday night’s discussion.
The city says discontinuing its current contract with golf pro Justin Beck to independently manage the course would reduce overhead and increase revenue. But some council members, namely Ruth, argued that any potential dollar savings might very well be eaten up in employee benefits.
A revised opinion on the purpose of the economic development tax has classified it as for capital improvements. Prior to this revision, the tax had been used to not only build spec buildings to attract industry, but also to pay for r11 driver an annual chamber contract to help the city market itself around the area and at trade shows. The new definition came during the process of budget cuts. As they reviewed this year’s proposed budget, committee members noted their input was not solicited this year and hinted the administration’s non-inclusion of the governing committee smacked of the previous administration.
During the meeting Tuesday, sales tax committee member Larry Neff introduced a motion to block the use of the sales tax revenue to finance baseball or softball diamonds or a water park. The motion passed 3-2, with Hart and Davidson voting against it.
Hart, at a City Council meeting last month, had asked Moore for an estimate of the city’s cost to build cheap Golf Clubs For Sale baseball and softball diamonds on the former golf course land, but there hasn’t been any public talk of a water park. As part of their austerity measures, city leaders previously cut youth sports programs and turned most of them over to the Freeman Southwest Family YMCA. Some city leaders have been trying to get the programs resurrected since then as money allows.
At a budget work session later Tuesday with council members, City Attorney Steve Hays said the city’s proposed transfer of sales tax revenue from economic development to golf course debt would be legal. He said that under state law, park maintenance and improvements are considered capital improvements, and golf courses fall under the definition of parks.
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