Letter: Apple Valley’s funding ‘gimme’ (April 13, 2015)

For the non-professional golfers among us, taking certain liberties on the golf course can be a common practice and score keeping can, from time to time, be subject to various personal adjustments. Whether it is a mulligan, a gimme, the proverbial foot wedge from the rough to the second cut of the fairway or just a straight up do-over-ball-drop, golf is intended to be played by the rules for amateurs and professionals alike.

When it comes to the Town of Apple Valley government’s financial management of the golf course, it appears many governmental liberties are being taken as they play by their own set of rules. On June 10th, 2014, the Town Council approved $80,000 for the design of an irrigation well for the golf course. This was done in a closed session as a last-minute item that needed immediate attention with the funding designated to come from the General Fund (gimme). Expenditures for this irrigation well have since ballooned to $209,000 — all coming from the General Fund. It is easy to say your (financial) game is improving when you don’t count all the strokes.

Town staff may have learned this little foot wedge trick from their Dec. 14, 2010, decision to transfer the costs to obtain water rights for the golf course from the Golf Course Fund to the Wastewater Fund because a nexus has been established that those rights belong to the Wastewater Fund … These transferred costs amounted to $654,859, all legal fees for the Town attorney, Best, Best and Krieger. Now that’s what one might call a governmental gimme.

It’s anyone’s guess what the Town government’s sewer department will be needing with those water rights or what is meant by nexus. Perhaps the real nexus is the point where golf is no longer a game of honor, because it is no longer a game. As citizens we all may need to play in this government’s foursome to be sure every single stroke is counted.

Source: Michael Lent, Daily Press