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Let’s Talk About the Enterprise Fund

April 23, 2018

In my Editorial a few weeks ago, I began to talk about the “Enterprise Fund” in the Bellport Village Budget for 2018/2019. If you remember, the “Enterprise Fund” consists of the Golf Course Greens, the Pro Shop, the Country Club and Grill Room, Men’s Locker Room, and Ladies Locker Room. The Enterprise Fund has its own Budget which is separate from the Village’s Budget. In broader terms, I guess you can think of the Enterprise Fund as the Golf Course and everything that’s over there in the Village.

I understand why the Golf Course Greens, the Pro Shop, the Men’s Locker Room, and the Ladies Locker Room are part of the Enterprise Fund; they all have to do with playing golf. I can even understand why the Grill Room is considered part of the Enterprise Fund, or more accurately, the Golf Course. It’s not at all unusual for a golf course to have a place where its members can gather to talk, have a beer, or even a burger. In fact, there was a time when Village Hall wouldn’t allow the public into the Grill Room. It was for golfers only. Thankfully, that changed with the current operators of the Grill Room. But, the question remains, why is the Country Club, or really catering facility at the golf course, included in the Enterprise Fund? What does it have to do with playing golf?

Now, don’t get me wrong. The Catering Facility at the Country Club is wonderful. It’s well run, spotless, has great food and service. Frankly, I wouldn’t change a thing at the Country Club. I think it’s a real asset to the Village.

The question I’m asking is, why does the Village’s income from the Country Club go into the Enterprise Fund supporting mostly, non-resident, golfers rather than help reduce taxes for the Village’s residents?

Let’s take a look at the numbers...

In a perfect world, for the most part, Village amenities would support themselves. If you don’t use something, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. However, that’s in a perfect world. There’s a financial ebb and flow to these things and it’s perfectly normal for an amenity to lose a little in some years and make a profit in others. Overall, the ideal goal would be to try to break even. However, that doesn’t work for every Village amenity. How about the Community Center or the Village Green and Gazebo? How about Mother’s Beach? These are Village amenities that are supported by our taxes and they have no income. Instead, these amenities help make Bellport Village the very special place that it is. I’m fine with my taxes paying for them because these Village amenities are available to ALL Village residents.

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about. In the new budget, the Ferry service is expected to cost $66,220, but it’s expected to take in $79,000, a profit of $12,780. The Dock and Marina will cost $106,609 and take in $235,800, a profit of $129,191. Tennis will cost $54,300 and take in $58,000, a profit of $3,700.

Now, before you get excited about the Dock and Marina’s profit of $129,191, in my opinion, it makes sense. Mother Nature is very tough on the Dock and Marina at times and we need monies in reserve to weather those financial storms (pun intended). Mr. Mayor and Trustees, you are keeping a nice large reserve available for the Dock and Marina, aren’t you? I can’t find it in your budget.

Back to the Enterprise Fund...

On page 5 of the Enterprise Fund’s budget for the coming year, you’ll find item “E2410 Rental of Real Property” and it’s estimated to bring in $254,500. I asked Village Hall about this item and was told it includes the rent paid by the Country Club’s caterers, $215,000, and the rent paid by the Grill Room, $11,000. In addition to the rent, I was told that the Grill Room operators are expected to put in up to an additional $6,000 in improvements in lieu of paying that amount in rent in the coming year.

Here’s my point. The residents of the Village of Bellport own every inch of the Country Club and golf course. The residents are landlords for that property. As such, shouldn’t the rent being paid be going to the landlord? The owners of the property? The residents of the Village? Why is the rent instead being diverted to support mostly non-resident golfers? If you aren’t riled up yet, consider this. If we generously estimate that at least $200,000 of rent money was diverted to support golf in each of the past 5 years, that means that while taxes were going higher and higher for Bellport Village residents each year, a million dollars in rent money was used to support golf. Is that right?

I am not anti-golf. There’s just about everything to like about the sport, but just like the dock/marina, ferry, and tennis, shouldn’t the golf course be expected to at least try to break even? Why should it operate as if it was the Community Center or Mother’s Beach where the residents are expected to support it financially?




If you have a comment and would like to respond to any of the above, we'd be glad to consider printing your response. Please send your comments to larry@bellport.com. You can read the comments we receive on our Letters To The Editor page.


Sincerely, 

Larry Sribnick
Larry Sribnick
Editor/Publisher, Bellport.com, LLC