The Village News: Editorials

January 7, 2015

Who Should Run For The Positions of Mayor and Village Trustees in June?


EditorialThe Village Elections are only about five months off and it's time to start thinking about who we'd like to have run for the positions of Mayor and the two Village Trustee positions, but first, a little background...
The single biggest expense and potential source of revenue for the Village is the golf course. Former Mayor Frank Trotta understood the economic importance of the golf course to the Village. He put a lot of effort into marketing the golf course in both print advertising, in magazines and newspapers, and online with a website dedicated to the promotion of the Village golf course and on over 100 golfing websites. In the interests of full disclosure, was responsible for the online marketing and promotion of the Village golf course and in its short existence, only about six months before a new administration pulled the plug, it was highly successful and identified many new prospective members.
Unfortunately, it seemed that his successors didn't share Mayor Trotta's feelings about how important his marketing efforts were and chose to discontinue them as soon as they took office. Also, unfortunately, they did nothing to create a marketing program of their own and quietly allowed the membership at the golf course to dwindle. At one point when I asked one of the Trustees, who, at the time, was responsible for the golf course, what he planned on doing about marketing the golf course he told me that he didn't know anything about marketing and didn't know what to do. The result was that nothing was done. The administration that followed also did nothing to market and promote the Village golf course and the result has been that the membership numbers have slowly fallen ever since Mayor Trotta left office.
This situation, where nothing was being done to market the course, and a dwindling membership, continued until about 18 months ago when the current administration took office. At that time, I hoped that the current administration would realize the economic importance of the golf course and start putting a new plan in place to at least stop the shrinking of the membership. Instead, once again nothing was done. Yes, the current administration finally “bartered” for the creation of a website for the golf course a few months ago, but this by itself isn't going to make much of a difference. Unfortunately, it isn’t true that, “If you build it, they will come.” What is needed is a comprehensive marketing plan. A website for the golf course is only a very small piece of the puzzle. The Village golf course is a business and it has to be run like a business.
Let me explain how bad the situation has become. Although the golf course has been losing money for some time, to their credit, the current administration finally openly admitted that the golf course is losing money, SERIOUS MONEY. But what they haven't readily explained to the residents is that all of the money that the Village receives from the catering and restaurant facilities at the Country Club goes towards supporting the golf course, not the rest of the Village. That's right, even after adding all of the catering and restaurant receipts to the income from the golf course and pro shop, the golf course is still losing money and has to be supported by your tax dollars.
Now, I'm not suggesting that we sell or close the golf course. That would be a huge, short sighted, mistake. Some members of the current Village Board have told me that they’d like to bring in an outside, private, managing firm to run the golf course. They have told me that the advantage would be to get rid of the unionized workers, who are on the Village’s payroll at the golf course, and therefore reduce the expense of the golf course to the Village. I don’t want to go into detail here as there will be plenty of time for Editorials on this subject should the Village Board move forward with this plan. What is important is that an outside firm can’t do anything our Village Board can’t do. The current Village Board should have gotten going and should have done something 18 months ago, but between now and the Village Elections in June, it’s really too late for them to come up with and implement a comprehensive marketing and promotional plan for the golf course. So, that’s the reason for this Editorial. To get you started thinking about the upcoming Village Elections in June and who you’d like to see run for the positions of Mayor and the two Village Trustee positions that will be up for grabs.
We need new blood. We need candidates who aren’t afraid to declare now, rather than at the last minute, and tell us now what their plans are for improving the economic health of the Village. If the current Mayor and two Trustees aren’t going to run for re-election, as at least one of them has said, they should tell us now. If they are going to run for re-election, they should also tell us now and also tell us, in detail, what their plan is for their second term in office.
The recently formed Main Street Committee is a great idea for improving Main Street’s economic health, but a blue ribbon group for the golf course is more important because the revenue goes directly to the Village to reduce Village taxes. The golf commission is mostly made up of non-residents and their priorities are in direct opposition to those of Village residents. Just like the airlines that would like to see every seat taken and the airline passengers who would like to have that center seat empty, non-resident golfers would like the golf course to have only four members and the fee be $1 a year. Village residents, on the other hand, would like the golf course to have 1,000 members paying $10,000 a year for their memberships. Somewhere in the middle is where we should be and we need a Village Board that understands business and that they are in reality running a multi-million dollar corporation and the residents are the stockholders to whom the Village Board is responsible.
It’s way past time for a comprehensive marketing and promotional plan for the Village golf course. We shouldn’t expect an overnight change, but it is reasonable for us to demand economic accountability from our elected officials.



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Larry Sribnick

Larry Sribnick