Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Skipper's Golf Course Committee Edges Toward Final Recommendations

We're getting a psychic vibe it will involve spending a boatload of taxpayer dough

Brace yourselves, Emerald City lumpencitzens. The Skipper's "Citizens' Golf Course Committee" is reportedly on the verge of making its final recommendations. Well.. maybe not quite "on the verge," we suppose... final recommendations won' t come out until March, according to this morning's Ace Reporter Schwebke story. Nevertheless, we'll apparently at least get a glimpse of the work product of Boss Godfrey's hand-picked committee, somewhere around the end of this month. From this morning's story:
A preliminary proposal from a citizen committee working to solve financial problems at Mount Ogden Golf Course includes a recommendation to build a new clubhouse on Weber State University property that could cost more than $2 million.
Kent Petersen, chairman of the Mount Ogden Golf Committee, said Wednesday he may give the city council a glimpse of the proposal later this month.
The committee may also present final recommendations to the council in March, he said. [...]
The Mount Ogden Golf Committee, established at the request of Mayor Matthew Godfrey, has been working since May on the proposal aimed at making the golf course more playable and, ultimately, more profitable.
Peterson said he has met with several financial experts to determine how the construction of the clubhouse and other improvements at the course can be funded.
“The committee is trying to fix the fiscal side of things,” said Peterson.
He declined to discuss specific funding options until the committee shares that information with the city council.
Declining to discuss financial details at this point is a pretty good tactic on the Skipper's part, we think. It's really an expansive pre-ordained Godfrey-style boondoggle. If we add up the costs of all the elements leaked in this morning's story, we're looking at a project with a projected bill running upward of $10 million bucks. No wonder The Skipper doesn't want to talk about it. Quite a chunk of change for a city that's already feeling the current recession's financial pinch. We'll therefore just ask at this point: Even assuming for the sake of argument the committee comes up with an acceptable plan... where will the money come from?

It's pretty obvious that Ogden City doesn't have that kind of dough laying around.

How about the bond market? Now that Boss Godfrey's financial guru, Scott Brown is back in harness, surely he'll be able to engineer the necessary bonding, like he did for the Junction Project back in 2005, right?.

For our part, we're not going to hold our breath waiting for funding from muni bond investors. That bond market has effectively dried up. As a matter of fact, The Port Authority of New York-New Jersey, a genuinely well-connected Big Player operating in the very geographic heart of U.S. financial markets, got completely skunked on its own bond offering just yesterday:
On Wednesday, the New York-New Jersey Port Authority joined the list of public borrowers locked out of the market. The agency, which helps oversee the World Trade Center redevelopment, was forced to postpone a $300 million note sale because no one bid on the debt.
The foregoing is an sign of the current economic times. We remain in an economic environment where U.S. financial institutions, of course, won't even lend to each other.

Well.. there are always those mysterious foreign investors, we guess.

We're posting this on the fly, and we've therefor ignored most of the issues that pop out of this morning's Scott Schwebke story. We'll thus rely upon our readers to supply the rest.

Have at it.

16 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

Pretty much warmed over old news. All this has been floated before, hasn't it? And there is as yet no proposal on anybody's table, so interested parties like WSU really have nothing to comment on . Which a WSU spokesperson prudently told the SE. No proposal, no response. Wise.

Mr. Peterson says he "may" give the Council a "glimpse" of a "preliminary" proposal this month, and a final proposal "may" go before the Council in March. Awful lot of "mays" and "mights" involving "preliminary" proposals in there.

Must have been a slow news day....

What will it cost us said...

Didn't the Mt. Ogden Community plan already opposed moving the clubhouse to the top of 36th street because of the traffic concerns already there. Seems to be the same ploy to move the clubhouse so Malins basin resort would have a parking lot for the gondola.

This would also impact the trail system already in place. And the $2M for the new water system seems pretty high just to water the course for the short season we have here.

Contact the city council now or just wait until they sell/lease the golf course then it will be too late.

When will they weigh the taxpayer costs to run the Junction against the supposed loss of the golf couse. Should be easy enough to have city staff come up with actual accurate figues..

Tec Jonson said...

No one is bidding on the debt because the credit boom so inflated real estate with the endless flips and commissions. Both the real estate and the subsequent debt underwent so many flips that "real" value needs to shake out of the estate, so to speak.
That is usually determined by demand and that his hit a standstill, not only in real estate but autos, and consumer goods. Almost no one is driving a car that requires imminent replacement and those who do simply buy the next one for a thousand or a hundred bucks. Same goes for durable goods. How many washing machines actually fail. If so, most can be repaired. All this and so on down the consuler chain. One day even people in numbers might even do something as simple as packing a lunch. They should, it's healthier and cheaper. No brainer. Same goes for dinner. Is the resturant culture also going to see hard times. Likely the medium scale go first like Sizzler and Carrows. Some fast food is a good deal and reasonably healthy. Like Del Tacos frijoles for instance. Cooked on site daily and no lard.

I digress, We are headed into a slowdown like we have never seen, especially taking into consideration the scale of our consumer economy in relation to 1930. The consumer economy is so fragile outside of the essentials like basic food and clothing. Fortunately those items are actually relatively cheap so even those of basic income can stay fed and clothed. Dominoes are falling steadily as the "real value" rug gets pulled out from under every price structure from homes to Hummers.

Technology equipment is already at such affordable lows in relation to performance and features. That industry will continue to thrive as everyone needs cellphones and many require advanced communication features.

This will happen slowly and with each successive closure and layoff the demand for stuff drops a few more points. We'll see what '09 has to bring. It does not look pretty. Store some beans and rice and learn how to cook healthy.

dan s. said...

WWICU,

No, the Mt. Ogden Community Plan says nothing against relocating the clubhouse. The planning staff (Greg Montgomery) tried to slip language into the plan that explicitly supported relocating the clubhouse, but that language was removed by the city council. So the plan is pretty much silent on the issue, other than vague language about exploring options, etc.

The advantages of relocating the clubhouse would include:

* Increased opportunities for WSU use of the golf course;

* Better views looking out over the Great Salt Lake;

* The grass is always greener on the other side of the course.

Meanwhile, the disadvantages would include:

* The tremendous cost, not just of the clubhouse itself but of rerouting the entire golf course to accommodate the relocation;

* Awkward topography and active fault traces in the area of the proposed relocation;

* Impacts to trails in the 36th Street area;

* Increased traffic congestion around WSU;

* Competition for parking between golfers and WSU students;

* Better views of the mountains (in my opinion) from the existing clubhouse location.

Jason W. said...

I'm waiting for this business moron Peterson ($5 million lost in diamond mine scam; dropped over $1 million to Wayne "Chris" Ogden), who doesn't play the game, to explain to me exactly what constitutes a "premier" hole, how he's going to fund a $10 million boondoogle (Is it by having onion-reeking THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE hussle around selling $15K cart decal sponsorships?), what a non-existent, non-profit golf-course-management community foundation is, if in fact Wolfgang Puck is going to open a restaurant in the new clubhouse, and just how in the Christ an addled dipshit proposed THE GONDOLA stooge was appointed to "chair" a golf course study committee in the first place.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

Southsider said...

"The clubhouse could also possibly help Weber State add a golf management degree program, Peterson speculated."

Gee, that could possibly add 1,000 new out of state students .... if we just get .001% of all college age golfers. Or something like that; just ask Bobby Geiger, he's good with those types of numbers.

danny said...

The quote from the Skipper should stop anyone in their tracks:

“The committee is trying to fix the fiscal side of things,” said "the Skipper" Peterson.

Peterson is a fiscal incompetent and perhaps one of the last people who should be consulted in financial matters of any kind.

Moreover, it's been well documented that the purpose of the committee, of which Godfrey is a member, exists solely to funnel borrowed money into the pockets of his contractor cronies, who shockingly but not surprisingly, are also members of the sham committee.

This is all so easy, and people like Schwebke could be mining journalistic gold documenting the incompetence, lies and scams of this administration. I guess some people just have no gumption, even when what they should want sits in front of them on a platter of silver.

dan s. said...

The other interesting tidbit in today's story is the proposal for a "lighted halfpipe with a conveyor lift for snowboarders on city-owned property near several trail heads at Strong's Canyon."

So many questions arise: Where exactly would it go? How much would it cost to construct and operate? Where would snowboarders park to access it? Would there be snowmaking machines, or would it be open only when there's enough natural snow? How would it impact the trail system?

I would instead propose that, in the course of making other minor improvements to the golf course, the city try to enhance its appeal to snowboarders if possible. No lights, no conveyor lifts, no fees, no operating costs--just a few terrain features that the kids and other snowboarders can enjoy.

Rafiki said...

A conveyor lift would create the exact opposite of adventure.

Really isn't the adventure really in deciding to change ones life and hike he/her ass up the trail system and ride down.

This is beginning to sound like high adventure at Disney Land. Perhaps we can even construct a fake mountain and a small world castle? If we constucted a castle do you think the mayor would move in?

I wonder what the lines will be like. Since that is about all I remember of Disney land/world. Oh ya; I know already, I rode Snow Basin last year!

disgusted said...

somewhat off the topic but maybe not.
ogden just appointed a new city engineer after kim wallace recently resigned. wallace was recruited by the city only about one year ago. does anyone know why he left. he was a capable guy but wasnt there very long. did he not get along with the administration or did he get hired away.
does anyone know what happened

Tec Jonson said...

The halfpipe idea is a good one. So is the terrain park as you suggest, Dan. Halfpipes do cost though. The largest cost after the snowmaking equipment has to be the snowcat and pipe dragon cutter that shapes the pipe. There is not enough elevation drop for more than 2 or 3 park features but enough to keep the kids interested. I'm not sure why they want a conveyor thing or they are not in touch wuith the terminology. A surface t-bar or platter tow is all that is needed and they are relatively simple and inexpensive. One note though. Last season, with record snowfall, Snowbasin almost never had their pipe properly maintained. In fact I can't say I ever saw it ridable. They are quite uncommited to keeping a finished halfpipe. This is either an indication of the draw of halfpipes locally or more likely that the typical Snowbasin rider has more than his hands full with the superior freeriding terrain on the mountain to fool around on a halfpipe. A halfpipe is much better suited to the park so that local kids can go there after school and not have to make the trek to Snowbasin. Maybe Snowbasin would sell their PipeDragon. It's only gathering dust from lack of use. Boarders would likely be willing to hike up to a halfpipe if it wasn't too far. We hike up favorite pitches all the time.

Curmudgeon said...

Off topic but interesting, I thought. NY Times has a story this morning about another town pitching itself as an outdoors four season city with it "all within reach." Apparently successfully. It's Salida, Colorado, and the picture of its main street [turn of the century brick buildings with mountains in the background] looks eerily like Ogden's 25th Street. Some differences... it's really isolated and a small town. But still, some interesting comparisons with Ogden's attempt to become a four season outdoor destination.

From the story:

People... are drawn to Salida by its year-round outdoors life. There’s fishing and boating in on the Arkansas River, cycling, skiing, hunting and the more passive pastime of soaking in the local hot springs. There are also three federal wilderness areas within about 30 minutes of town. And all of it comes without the potentially suffocating trappings of popular Colorado resort towns like Telluride and Aspen.

“The lovely part of Salida is that it is not just a ski town,” Ms. Backinger said. “It is a wonderful functioning town that is blessed with an incredible ski mountain 20 minutes away. It’s not a cutesy alpine village at the base of a mountain.”

Salida, in south-central Colorado, was once a booming railroad depot, but when rail service mostly ended in the early 1970s, the town entered three decades of decline. During those lean years, outdoor adventurers of all stripes, seeking refuge from Colorado’s more crowded, centrally located resorts along Interstate 70, discovered Salida.

Bill C. said...

I actually feel sorry for the spipper in some regards, he has to promote all this idiocy on behalf of lying little matty while remaining muted after discovering exactly what we've been saying all along, all this crap is manufactered on paper and through direct mismanagement to make the course look bad.
Take for instance how lying little matty has instructed Arrington to construct these negative finalcials. After 19 years of operation and not listing depreciation on the buildings, they started doing it 3 or 4 years ago. This results in very large looking numbers that they have applied as loss to the course bottom line. Then they charge interest on that loss and compound it over the years carrying it forward. The skipper thought that these depreciation numbers were for equipment at first, not realizing that all equipment is ownwed by the city fleet not the golf course. So if the course has to lease it's euipment from fleet at higher than market rates, and fleet takes the depreciation, why does the course lease the buildings, has to pay the original loans and suffer the depreciation?
This is just one example, but, skipper can't be truthfull because that would expose lying little matty so they have detoured so far from their mission now they look foolish. Spend up to 15 million to fix a non exsistent 2 million dollar problem. Half pipes, lifts, un-needed unwanted holes, relocation of the clubhouse for no reason related to golf course operation, crony foundations to assume ownership, the list goes on.

Bill C. said...

To my good buddies that are open to this halfpipe stuff, please remember this is a golf course issue. A half pipe doesn't belong tied to the golf course. It's a separate thing and should not be included in a discussion on the golf course, truth is it would add tremendously to the deficit.

Moroni McConkie said...

Comment bumped to main article status

dan s. said...

Tec,

Thanks for sharing your expertise on snowboarding and half-pipes.

The picture I'm getting is that building and operating a half-pipe would be a major undertaking by the city, with significant capital and operating expenses. Given the city's budget situation, I don't think I could support that at this time.

All I would propose is that if the golf course itself can be made more usable by snowboarders in the winter, without much cost, let's do it. Opening up just a few more direct down-slope routes could help a lot. Of course, there will be years when there's too little snow, and I couldn't support an investment in snowmaking equipment. But in good years (like last year), the golf course is already a great winter recreation area and perhaps it could become even better.

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