“With the town golf course losses estimated upward of $800,000 annually, town officials are looking to save money by hiring a company to operate and maintain the facility.
The Town Board approved a request for proposals with hopes of drawing an operator for the town-owned 150-acre, par 72 course Spook Rock Golf Course. The request for proposals allows officials to negotiate with firms, as opposed to seeking bidders, acting Supervisor Yitzchok Ullman said Thursday.
“The issue is the town is losing approximately $800,000 annually,” Ullman said. “We want to see what’s out there.”
Ullman knocked down rumors that the town would sell the 18-hole course, which opened in 1970.
Ramapo Town Attorney Michael Klein said the golf course is dedicated parkland and can’t be sold without state Legislature approval and an appropriate plot of land as replacement.
Ullman said proposals must be received in the next 45 days. He said the Town Board would review the proposals with members of the Ramapo Golf Advisory Committee and get public comments.
“It’s parkland and it’s staying a golf course,” said Ullman, who is running for his Town Board seat on the Democratic Party line and not seeking the supervisor’s seat.
Weber said he doesn’t think the town got good deals when then-Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence negotiated long-term contracts for the town’s baseball stadium and equestrian center. St. Lawrence was booted from office for his federal conviction on corruption charges in May.
“I pointed out that I am fearful that the town has a bad track record of entering into these lease agreements,” Weber said, referring to his comments at a Town Board meeting on Wednesday.
Weber, an accountant, said he also questions some of the financial numbers in the town’s request for an operator.
Weber, who’s a golfer and has friends who golf at Spook Rock, said the town should consider adjusting the fees for residents and non-residents that he called “relatively cheap.” adding the town is “leaving money on the table.”
Weber predicted the town would eventually consider privatizing other facilities, like the Joseph St. Lawrence Community Health and Sports Center in Western Ramapo’s Torne Valley.
If the town chooses an operator from any proposals received, the town would get an annual fee — the core of the proposal. The chosen operator would take the revenues after costs from the golf fees, pro shop and restaurant.
Weber said he fears the town will mess up the lease as an excuse to eventually see the acreage for housing.”
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