Resident questions wisdom of spending $30,000 for golf

Published 12:35 pm Saturday, October 7, 2017

To the Editor:

Southampton County and the City of Franklin are planning to subsidize the Cypress Cove Country Club for $60,000 ($30,000 for each locality) so that citizens of each locality can play golf for a cost of $25. I decided to call the club to see how much a round of golf for non-members would cost. The lady who answered in the Pro Shop said that non-members would pay $35 if they played before 1 p.m. and would pay $25 if they played after 1 p.m. I am not understanding this subsidy for the Country Club — there is no saving for county or city residents unless they choose to play before 1 p.m.

I called the County Administrator to learn more and he said this is NOT a subsidy, but is an incentive to get more people to participate in golf. He, as well as my representative on the board of supervisors, said that if would be a great loss for the area if the golf course were to close. The county administrator also said that if the club were to close that the county would lose $20,000 in real estate taxes. They said by helping the club to stay open that the area would be more attractive to new residents and new businesses.

My supervisor did not think that the rates that I stated were correct so I called back and asked again.  She said $35 for before 1 and $25 for after 1 is the correct rate for non members. My Board of Supervisor representative also said that by keeping the club open it would help the county high school allow the golf team to practice, and that three seniors from last year’s team were able to secure scholarship money for college. He said there were six students on the team last year.

I am a county resident and it appears to me that if we spend $30,000 to help ensure the club stays open another year that we will then be able to collect $20,000 in real estate taxes. It also appears to me that if we give the club $30,000, we can ensure that we can save 3,000 county residents $10 so they can play golf for $25, as long as they are playing before 1 p.m. I am sure that some folks play golf every day and want to play before 1 p.m. and those those folks could save $3,650 per year as long as they played before 1 and played every day of the year.

This money appeared to be selected to be used for recreation in the county and city. I believe that the county could spend that money much more wisely rather than subsidizing the golf course. I would love to see more money spent in the park in Courtland, spent on a new swing at Meherrin Elementary School, spent on outdoor fitness equipment like they have at the park in Isle of Wight close to the former Franklin Equipment plant.

I do not play golf but have several friends who do and they truly love it. If the club has to close because of lack of revenue, I would hope that someone else would buy it so that we would continue to have a place for the SHS students to practice, the avid golfers would have a local place to play and that we would continue to have the incentive for businesses as well as new residents — without $30,000 from my tax dollars and $30,000 from the City of Franklin’s tax dollars.

Rebecca Butler