LETTER: No Discrepancy in Country Club Budget
Last week's headline in the Lowell Sun declared FinCom tries to clear up Country Club budget discrepancy and then quoted the Chairman of the FinCom who asserted "We're subsidizing people to get married..."
I am writing to dispel the mistaken contention we are "subsidizing" weddings and other events at the Groton Pool & Golf Center and to clarify the suggestion there is a "discrepancy" between budget revenues and expenses.
As I correctly explained during the routine FinCom departmental budget review, each event we host covers all the direct costs of that event and produces a profit. We simply do not host the volume of events necessary to cover the total annual overhead costs associated with the 60-year-old, energy inefficient, reception hall building. As a result, profits from events are not sufficient to cover all annual costs associated with that building including most notably electric charges, oil heat, and repairs. Most of those costs would be incurred regardless of the number of events hosted since this facility also houses administrative offices, golf course maintenance facility, and pool and golf locker rooms which are not part of the event business. Fewer events would simply mean these costs would then be borne entirely by the other business units. Conversely, as the annual number of events increases, these building costs will be more fully covered by increased profits.
The consolidated GP&GC operating budget, which includes golf, pool, summer camp, snack bar and event operations provides revenues sufficient to cover all operating costs and, accordingly, there is no overall discrepancy. In fact, at the conclusion of their financial review, members of the FinCom voted unanimous approval of our fiscal year operating budget submittal which again this year calls for no taxpayer subsidy.
There is no question that the GP&GC continues to struggle to make ends meet in the face of a protracted weak economy, high unemployment, and increasing costs. Nevertheless, we provide wonderful recreational experiences for all users including many Groton residents who enjoyed the use of the golf and pool facilities on a complementary basis on "Groton Family Days" and other days this past season. Despite limited resources, we continue with plans to rejuvenate the club with the goal of being a financially self reliant, community recreation resource.
We appreciate the continued support of the town and invite everyone to visit our soon to be completely revamped website www.grotonpoolandgolf.com to learn more about our many recreational offerings. We encourage you to buy a golf or pool season pass, join a golf league or tournament, sign up your children for the swim team, swim lessons, or for a week or more of summer camp or golf lessons, host an event here, and join your friends and neighbors for some affordable summer fun.
Robert M. Whalen, General Manager