A reminder that a golf course can bleed a city dry

“Gamblers who bet the house and lose end up with their furniture on the lawn and no place to live. The city of Buena Vista has bet the house — its city hall, actually — and is now in danger of losing it as payment for a multimillion-dollar debt.” Read the rest of this story about a city and its money-losing golf course. Hey! We’ve got one of those!

We need to remember that our city commissioners insisted on keeping Iron Wood Golf Course, even though it is projected to lose $300,000 per year.  They have just committed to borrow millions of dollars to renovate this money pit and to build a one-stop homeless center. And what will they do when these losing propositions go south? They can just keep raising your electric and water bills because they will need more and more money transferred to the general fund from GRU.

Or, they can just create a new fee, like the one they hit us with for fire services. Because they overspent on Ironwood, they had to switch to a new fee to pay what your property taxes used to pay for.

9 thoughts on “A reminder that a golf course can bleed a city dry”

  1. Don, what is your proposal to help deal with the homeless problem in Gainesville? The services that aren’t run by the city in Gainesville are obviously not doing enough, and they are largely dependent upon city funds already, anyway. What is your plan to remove us from the list of meanest cities towards the homeless?

  2. Let me work backward through your comment.

    1. This “meanest cities” list is irrelevant to doing any real problem solving. As long as we are doing what is right, it does not matter what politically motivated advocacy groups say.

    2. Speaking of city funds, it sounds like we will be building a $5M One stop center for the homeless, which means we will be unfurling the “Mission Accomplished” banner some time next year, right? I don’t think so. Just as it was when we had a temporary fit of madness and made panhandling a right, we will have a huge increase in the homeless business.

    3. It would be nice if the city didn’t thwart churches and other charities that wanted to help by limiting how many homeless people they can feed. Of course, churches usually have an interest in getting drug and alcohol addicts and other incorrigibles to change their ways and turn their lives around. Some of them do, to little fanfare, but there will always be a subset of our society that simply will not cooperate with being mainstreamed in any way. Have you ever taken a homeless person into your home, given him a job, and made him a part of your household? I have. They still walk out on you and curse your name if you make any demands on them to become more civilized.

    4. My proposal? Get out of the way of those people who want to help the ones who want to be helped, and lower the tax burden on the people who hire help and invest in growth. It would also help if the city got out of real estate speculation, thus driving up the cost of housing during a time when it should be going down.

  3. First, I commend your desire to get rid of the meal limits. They’re atrocious, and I would like nothing more than to see them gone.
    My main point is that homelessness is a big problem in the city. It was a big problem even before the economic downturn. This is not a problem that will go away with an improving economy, though it will get better to a degree.
    I have anecdotal evidence to counter your anecdotal evidence. I know homeless people who are legitimately trying hard to make it, pay people back when they can, etc. But it’s irrelevant; anecdotal evidence is pretty useless in the end. Some people are trying to mooch off what they can, doing as little as they can, yes—but that doesn’t discredit the people who are homeless and trying to legitimately make their lives better. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to help the people who actually are trying to improve their lives.
    I’m not advocating that the homeless get a free ride, just that they get the resources and knowledge they need to become productive members of society—something that helps all of us. Even for the people who are homeless because of losing a job, and being unable to get a new job, there are tangible benefits to everyone to give them resources that are needed to secure a job. The homeless get jobs and security, the city has fewer homeless on the streets, and we get more individuals taking part in our economy. Without these resources, and the ability to easily find these resources in one place, however, there’s very little time left in the day for job searching if you spend most of it wandering town, trying to figure out where you will sleep that night, or where your next meal will come from.
    The problem in our city is the lack of resources for the homeless to try to help themselves, and the lack of knowledge about the resources we do currently have. We have a limited degree of charities that help this, but I think having a one-stop homeless center, where people can get information on how to get themselves back on their feet, is potentially of immense benefit.
    I agree that our city sometimes seemingly nonsensically spends money, and that we should try to make that better. I definitely do not think the homeless center is an example of that, though. There is a tangible benefit from building the homeless center, that helps not only the homeless, but the people of Gainesville as a whole, by creating more people ready to enter the workforce as productive members of society.

  4. And regarding changing the “incorrigibles”, that’s exactly the kind of the the one stop homeless center will help. It will provide easy access to support for change, *if* an individual wants it.

  5. I don’t mean to be nit-picky, but incorrigible is defined as, “Not able to be corrected, improved, or reformed.”

    I disagree that there are not enough resources in place already, especially information. Believing that robs people of their motivation.

  6. I was just using your terminology, it was you who stated that “churches usually have an interest in getting drug and alcohol addicts and other incorrigibles to change their ways and turn their lives around. Some of them do”–that they could be reformed. But, you’re right, it’s nitpicky.

    So: Believing that making information easier to obtain robs people of their motivation to obtain that information? What makes you think that?

    I mean, other than the clear evidence that having libraries decreases the literacy rate, of course..

  7. Libraries are an excellent case in point. Anyone with time on his hands can use the library computers to do all the online job and information shopping they want. Any time I have gone in to use a computer, I have never had to wait more than 5 minutes to get one. THEREFORE, such services are redundant at the one-stop. Information is not lacking. Motivation is lacking. Some coaching may be helpful, but only for those who want to act on it.

    Churches are, if you think about it, one-stop centers. For 30 years I have seen people get counseling, get help from other members, network for jobs, and get financial aid. Since they do not have unlimited resources, they get members to do as much as they can to hold up their end. Those who are unwilling leave, and go to government agencies that are less interested in personal responsibility.

    Back when I was a volunteer at various homeless ministries, I met a lot of vagrants who had family in the area that refused to take care of them any more, or, that they refused to live with. On more than one occasion a homeless young man told me, “I will not live under his rules!”

  8. I agree that churches and libraries are important, useful tools for the homeless. However, I think given the significant intrinsic challenges of actually being homeless, there are big advantages to having a one stop center for people to get help. Particularly in the case of addicts, I think expecting churches to be well-equipped to be a point of first contact for help, or provide any meaningful therapy whatsoever, requires a naïve understanding of the nature of drug addiction. But, this is an internet debate, and I think this is as close as we’ll possibly get to an agreement—so, I’ll take it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.