Hidden Op-Ed: Quarter Mil of Taxpayer Money No Big Deal?

 

From today’s Scottsdale Republic, with my comments below.

TPC’s missing revenue deserves no more than a yawn, shrug

It might startle some to learn that Scottsdale missed out on nearly $240,000 in revenue generated by its TPC complex since 2011.

It might even anger others.

For us, however, the news inspires no more than a shrug. Followed by a yawn.

Sure, the results of a recent audit, released earlier this month, reveal that the city could have squeezed a bit more milk out of one of its most important cash cows. About 7 to 8 percent of rounds played at the TPC from 2011 to early 2013 were complimentary, the audit reported. Many of those rounds were played by TPC employees.

But the audit also found that the TPC’s revenue reports are generally accurate. There doesn’t appear to be any negligent supervision or willful oversight here, just the fallout from some free rounds and meals enjoyed in large part by those who work to main­tain one of Scottsdale’s greatest assets.

To put $240,000 in perspective, that’s barely one-thousandth of the general­ fund portion of Scottsdale’s 2013-14 operating budget.

Nevertheless, the audit will be point­ed to by some in our community as only the most recent evidence that mis­management of the complex is causing Scottsdale to be fleeced. Given that the stifling summer heat has helped bring the local news cycle to a grinding halt, there simply isn’t much else for them to grouse about right now.

Should the TPC’s management try to curb such freebies in the coming year? Sure. In fact, the audit explicitly said so.

But in the meantime, forgive us for failing to lift so much as an eyebrow at the audit’s results. We’re only giving this non-issue the response it deserves.

Opinions page editor Grant Martin missed the point here. This issue isn’t about the missing $240k, though in my humble opinion, it’s far more worrisome to me than obviously it is to him. A half-million bucks is a lot of money in anyone’s book, except apparently Mr. Martin. And it’s not HIS money. It’s the taxpayer’s money.

The issue IS about the $15-20 million taxpayer subsidy Mayor Lane and the city council recently voted to give the TPC, with very little promise of even a token direct return on that investment. If Grant isn’t outraged about a half-mil, he ought to be furious about $15-20 mil!

However, I should point out that the $240k in chump change that Martin dismisses would pay the salaries and other expenses for 2.5 police officers for a year.

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