Golf management extension hardly a cause for closure

The Lycoming County Commissioners have renewed the contract for Billy Casper Golf to manage the White Deer Golf Complex for another three years.

But the three years are in name only.

The county has the right to terminate the contract at any time without a cancellation fee and, should the management firm not turn a profit in 2019, it will write a check to make up the difference.

Those terms, however, brought little closure for Commissioner Rick Mirabito, who voted against the three-year extension.

He pointed out the county can’t keep “writing checks from property taxes” to pay for the complex.

Those checks have amounted to $145,790 per year since 2016 between operating loans, the line of credit and operations for the golf course. That amount does not include bond payments.

We agree on an extension to Billy Casper Golf, and doing it now allows management to make vital preparations necessary for a successful season.

But fiscal points made by Commissioner Mirabito are valid and the leash on the management firm should be very short. Nothing has changed with the extension.

This coming golf season remains prove-it time for the operation.

We also are intrigued at the possibility of using at least some of the complex property as sales bait to private interests.

That is worth pursuing no matter how successful the golf complex is in 2019.

If there is new revenue to be had, the commissioners must pursue it. Those possibilities are few and far between and not taking a look at it would be irresponsible.

If taxpayers are going to subsidize a golf complex, that should at least be balanced by an aggressive pursuit of new revenue sources when those possibilities arise.

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