Hey Platte County, Sell Your Golf Course!
According to an article in the Kansas City Star, Platte County is engaged in a difficult debate regarding budget cuts. Officials have proposed cuts to many departments, including the sheriff’s department. In response and opposition, the sheriff said:
“The golf course fleet is better maintained than the sheriff’s department’s fleet,” Sheriff Richard Anderson said.
This brings to mind a very easy move for the county to make that will (1) bring new revenue into the county (the sale price); (2) reduce future expenditures; (3) expand the county property tax base (placing the property on the tax rolls); and (4) remove the county from doing things government is not intended to do. Privatize the golf course.
Golf courses make up one of the least important government programs. I say this as a golfer. I do not think governments should own golf courses, but at least some just own the land and contract out the operations of the course to private companies. Can someone say “comparative advantage”? But Platte County does not appear to even do that. The county appears to own and operate the entire course as a division of county government. (I base that on my reading of the 2011 budget, pages 221-224.) That is insane.
The Mackinac Center and the Reason Foundation both have conducted great work involving government golf courses. This should be a fairly easy choice for Platte County. Shed the golf course to raise money to improve your sheriff’s fleet. Platte County should sell off its golf course to private operators, and if that is not possible (due to legal restrictions on selling parkland or some other such issue), contract out the management of it.
And I now will resist the temptation to end this post with an overly cute golf reference, such as “Privatization would be a real Birdie for Platte County!”