Florissant, Pay Cuts, and Golf Courses
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting on the budget troubles in Florissant, the largest city in St. Louis County. Not surprisingly, the police officers there are objecting to a proposed 3-percent pay cut. Now, I don’t ordinarily sympathize much with government employees, but the ones in uniforms generally deserve a little more compensation than some politically hired clerk. Even more importantly, there is a very reasonable solution, at least for the short term, that is being proposed by one of the councilmembers.
He says they should close the municipal golf course. I agree, but first they should try to sell it.
Podleski ran unsuccessfully against Lowery in April 2007 and continues to be the chief critic of the city budget. After the Monday’s meeting, he suggested the city close its golf course. The budget predicts the golf course would lose nearly $164,000 in the next fiscal year, he noted. When the city is cutting pay, “can it afford a golf course?” he asked.
No, it can’t afford a golf course, but privatization is better than closure. Even if the course only fetches a reduced amount in this economy, at least it then goes back onto the tax rolls as private property. This really is a no-brainer for Florissant. Other think tanks have done a lot of work on the issue of government golf privatization, especially Reason. I can’t think of any item that is less necessary for the government to provide than a golf course. A budget crisis might make the issue more immediate, but even if it were flush with cash, Florissant should privatize its golf course.