Fantasy vs Reality
Doris Borgelt

Arnold, MO

#1 Aug 28, 2014
Looking over the budget passed last Thursday evening, I see some things that appear to be fantasy regarding the Pomme Creek Golf Course....according to the budget, receipts minus expenses will leave us $65,000 in the plus column! Taking into consideration they are predicting a close to $400,000 gain in revenue and $80,000 less in expenses, and don't forget the interest payment and bond fees of around $175,000...I will predict the end of year deficit for 2015 to be in the $420,000 range, almost a $75,000 improvement over last year! The 2015 Budget has not been posted as yet, you can see the 2014 budget here: http://www.arnoldmo.org/index.asp... {3937392D-ABB4-4634-BBFC-68509 B8DFB48}

Compare the budget numbers to the actual numbers for the last few years, discrepancies abound! Lofty estimates of revenue and spending that exceeds revenue is going to continue to be a problem as long as those elected are busy slapping their names on unnecessary programs to make themselves appear generous in the eyes of voters, when in reality they are giving away more than is coming in and it is unsustainable.
They want to sell the sewers to shore up finances, they don't care that it will cost you, the consumer, much, much more later down the line
ArnoldCC

United States

#2 Aug 28, 2014
Enough with the sewer sales scare tactics. They are governed by the public service commission who only allows them to earn a minimal profit. If they earn over that then the rest is refunded to the customers and the PSC makes sure of it. So the rates will probably go up slightly, but not like you're implying. Research it.
Matt Hay

Fenton, MO

#3 Aug 28, 2014
ArnoldCC wrote:
Enough with the sewer sales scare tactics. They are governed by the public service commission who only allows them to earn a minimal profit. If they earn over that then the rest is refunded to the customers and the PSC makes sure of it. So the rates will probably go up slightly, but not like you're implying. Research it.
You mean like Ameren who seems to apply to the PSC every other week for a new surcharge? Do not forget that last time this was brought up, Ron Counts said the City was approached, they reviewed the offer, and that rates would inevitably increase, so they did not attempt to move it forward. What is different about the proposal this time which suddenly makes is a good deal? The debt that they have racked up and need to cover? You should have real issues if they are taking funds which were invested in the sewer system, to use them to cover shortfalls in the Parks and Rec budget. Just as wrong as moving money out of a TDD here to pay down a TIF obligation there.
Doris Borgelt

Arnold, MO

#4 Aug 28, 2014
And another thing, if voters decide to sell the sewers, which if they are smart they won't, I believe the users who contributed the $4 Million that is in the sewer reserve fund should be reimbursed to those who contributed and not just confiscated by the city to cover for their bad decisions. What fund did the rental income from the Dixon property go into? If we have that much in the sewer reserve fund why have we not used that money for capital improvements or repairs, like for that poor guy with human waste floating in his yard every time it rains? Oh yeah and remind me just how many times the Public Service Commission denied a rate hike in the last 10 years?
ArnoldCC doesn't know Jack Schmidt about the Arnold sewer system and the only ones preaching doom and gloom are those who are trying to get their money grubbing hands on the proceeds of the sale of the sewer system.
Ask for an audit, find out why they "borrowed" money from a restricted fund, and who repeatedly urged them to put the money back where it belonged, when they were trying to "forgive" the loan.
ArnoldCC

United States

#5 Aug 29, 2014
Matt, you are incorrect in your statement. I did research. Maybe you should do some and reevaluate that statement. It's all up on the PSC's website. At least that is where I found it.

And Doris, you don't know what I know about the sewer system so don't attempt to speak to my knowledge. It just goes to show that when someone brings up a point that is contrary to your comment you personally attack them.
ArnoldCC

United States

#6 Aug 29, 2014
And maybe it is time to get an experienced company in here to manage the sewer system. Then we wouldn't see an over 100% rate hike overnight because those that were running it didn't know to gradually increase the rates to cover infrastructure needs.
Doris Borgelt

Arnold, MO

#7 Aug 29, 2014
It wasn't that they didn't know, they were quite aware, but refused to do so because they didn't want to jeopardize their next election hopes. Just like the offer of free trash service, they use it to garner votes. There is proof of this and all one needs to do is look at the legislation that Phil Amato tried to get passed in Jefferson City that was specific to Arnold to appoint a board to do the job so the city council didn't have to do theirs. Recently he has made another attempt to do it again only by ordinance, just another way to pass the buck onto someone else so the council doesn't have to sully their reputation with the voting public by doing what they were elected to do. We have an enterprise fund that holds title to the sewer and storm water systems and the golf course, there are people on that board that are supposed to keep on top of things....
offcourse

Saint Charles, MO

#8 Aug 29, 2014
It is true that the PSC tries to keep company profits to a minimum. However, American Water will be allowed (by the PSC) to get a good return on their investment. If they pay too much for the system, if they pay their employees too much salary, if they gold plate everything they do, then the PSC will allow their rates to escalate accordingly. It is pretty simple for American Water to spend big bucks on the sewer system, and the PSC cannot deny them a profit on such expenditures. Knowing this, American Water will likely implement a business plan that causes excessive spending so they can realize more profit, perhaps not percentage-wise, but certainly more in raw dollars. Ultimately, the Arnold customers will have a better sewer system, but their monthly sewer bills will probably triple. Expect sewer rates to exceed $60.00 per month in a few years.
Arnold 86

Saint Louis, MO

#10 Aug 30, 2014
I'm a little more interested in the findings of the engineering study done last year where they tested the sewer systems in Arnold. I saw them on Ridgecrest for several days testing.
I'm not asking for a detailed engineering report but I'd like to know just how stormwater runoff is getting into the sanitary sewer system. Should these not be separate? Wouldn't that indicate a breach of the sanitary system if water can get into it from outside sources?

It seems they ran a study and have never bothered to fully inform the Arnold populace as to what they found other than a recommendation to sell the system.

I'm with Doris on this though (crazy). I'd much rather have the sewer system under the jurisdiction of the City of Arnold vs. a company based on profit. At least I have a vote to hold those accountable for the repairs/running of that system vs. a private company.
Doris Borgelt

Arnold, MO

#11 Sep 4, 2014
I have a copy of the sewer study and would be more than happy to share it with you. Also I wanted to add that none of the figures, as far as I can see, include the $138.000 yearly administration fee for the Pomme Creek funds.
Arnold 86

Saint Louis, MO

#12 Sep 14, 2014
You know, railing against Pomme Creek GC might be reasonable if Arnold was one of the few cities in the area that owned and operated it's own golf course but it's not. The following cities own and operate their own course, usually under the direction of their parks department:

Florissant - Florissant GC
Bridgeton - Berry Hill GC
U-City - Ruth Park GC
Creve Coeur - Creve Coeur GC
Ballwin - Ballwin GC
St Ann - St Ann GC
St Louis - Courses within Forest Park

I don't have the financials on any of these cities and whether their courses operate at a deficit or not. Most of the courses listed have been around a long time. 25 years or more. I imagine if these courses were being run in the red consistently, year after year that many of them would've been dropped by the cities involved and sold off to private interests or a developer. My guess would be if anything, Pomme Creek may need to be re-evaluated and possibly the management needs to be outsourced in order to get the course into at least a break even financial status. That said, having the course is an asset to the community similar to the library and the community center.
Doris Borgelt

Arnold, MO

#13 Sep 14, 2014
Outsourcing management has been suggested for years. The excuse given for not contracting the management out was that management companies would not manage non-PGA certified courses. I have found that not to be true, as Walters does indeed manage non PGA Certified courses. I just can't fathom, after reading an appraisal of Pomme Creek Golf Course and the pro-forma, that the Mayor and city council at that time would go ahead with the purchase of such a pig in a poke. They were told flat-out the course would no be a money maker, but that is NOT what they told the taxpayers. They spent $3.15 million to purchase, but borrowed $4.39 million to allow for much needed capital improvements that were suggested by experts, then proceeded to make few if any of those improvements.$100,000 was spent rehabilitating ONE hole. At that rate it would cost $18 Million to rehab the whole course. That's insanity.
As for the other golf courses you mentioned, I don't have the financials on all of them either. I do know the U-City golf course was losing money and it was becoming quite the liability, they installed a driving range and were able to prop the finances back up and make that course profitable. I doubt there is any chance of doing the same at Pomme, unless of course, you make it a nine-hole course like Ruth Park is....
When you consider the majority of the taxpayers in Arnold do not use the golf course, it is not right to ask them all to pay for it and before you use the school district and education as an example of people paying for something they are not using, the golf course is not education our children....
Doris Borgelt

Arnold, MO

#14 Sep 14, 2014
Also the library is supported solely on their tax and donated incomes. They do not operate in the red. However the recreation center is another story. Even with a designated tax, they are unable to be self supporting. They also operate in the red. Poor planning before it's construction has resulted in deficit spending on this, another City of Arnold White Elephant. The management of this facility should also be looked into. Partnering between the City of St. Louis and the YMCA have managed to make all of their facilities not only self-sustaining, but profitable.
ArnoldCC

United States

#15 Sep 14, 2014
Doris, it would have cost 1.8 million to rehab the course, not 18 million. Please check your math.
ArnoldCC

United States

#16 Sep 14, 2014
Doris Borgelt wrote:
When you consider the majority of the taxpayers in Arnold do not use the golf course, it is not right to ask them all to pay for it and before you use the school district and education as an example of people paying for something they are not using, the golf course is not education our children....
And yet all of the taxpayers pay for education and aren't using it. Should they get that money back? I pay for senior services and don't use it. Should I get that money back? The logic there is faulty.
Arnold 86

Saint Louis, MO

#17 Sep 14, 2014
Pomme was originally a 9 hole course and it had a driving range . The driving range was eliminated in favor of the expansion of the course to 18 holes. The 10th hole sits where the old driving range used to be.
Doris Borgelt

Arnold, MO

#18 Sep 14, 2014
Sorry, missed a point between the 1 and the 8. Find me one other city owned golf course that loses close to $200,000 per year and remains open. The acquisition cost alone was ridiculous, then borrowing over a million more to bring it up to par when all indicators pointed to little chance of even breaking even. The people who owned and ran it before Dan Jones bought it and developed what he could into villas, couldn't make a profit. He then carved off another 7 acres Jeffco frontage property and the city ended up with 118 acres. Who made it into an 18 hole golf course? That was done before the City of Arnold bought it. The Pomme Creek Golf Course was not viable when the City of Arnold bought it has done nothing but lose money since it was purchased and no offense meant, but I don't believe footgolf is going to be the goose that laid the golden egg and produce another $400,000 in income for 2015.

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