Why not privatize management of Ladera Golf Course?

According to recent news reports, taxpayers continue to pour money into Ladera Golf Course. Full disclosure, I am a golfer and as a West Side resident, have played Ladera many times.

However, it is hard to argue that golf is a core function of government and that millions of dollars should be paid by taxpayers for something that can and is provided by private sector providers. Even Detroit has taken the step of privatizing the management of its golf courses to positive effect and it is just one of many cities to have done so.

So, let’s have an experiment. Leave the other golf courses alone, but let a private company come in and do what it can to salvage the situation at Ladera. Give them control over hiring and firing and pricing, but tell them “no more tax dollars” and see what happens. It can’t get any worse than it is now and it might just result in a turnaround. Nothing will happen if we don’t do something different.

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One Reply to “Why not privatize management of Ladera Golf Course?”

  1. There is some info about the city golf courses in the city budget: http://documents.cabq.gov/budget/fy-13-approved-budget.pdf

    The golf courses are “enterprise funds” that do no receive a subsidy (p75);
    there is info about “golf operating fund 681 (p87);
    there is info about “golf operating debt service fund” (p 88),
    and the “Department Budget Highlights” has some numbers under “Parks and Recreation” at p 214.

    It does not appear that the budget separates the revenues and expenses of the city golf courses for each course. Perhaps the RGF could hire an intern to research the numbers. Once you have the accounting numbers for each city course, you would take those numbers to the manager of any of the private courses in the metro area (ACC, Tanoan, 4 Hills, etc) and they could tell you in 5 minutes if the city numbers were out of line. Obviously, the great expense that the city incurs is the enormous cost of funding fabulous defined benefit retirement benefits for its employees – benefits that are simply unaffordable in the private sector.

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