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Letter: 'Factual manner' does not equal 'factual writing'

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To the Editor:

Your Golden Quill was presented to Jeff McDowell for his letter done in a "factual manner" (R-E, April 27-28). Statements are not factual simply by being submitted to the Eagle. Due diligence is required to be sure statements published are factual, not just written in a "factual manner." Readers interested in the truth about RWMGC's proposals can access the facts at www.rwmgc.org.

Following are some examples of the misinformation in McDowell's letter:

•Claim: Nothing could be further from the truth than the assertion that Red Wing Municipal Golf Corp. would save the taxpayers $400,000; opening the course in 2013 would not save the city money. Fact: RWMGC would have paid for upkeep and maintenance from revenues rather than taxpayers paying $400,000 for mothballing the course.

•Claim: Repurchasing equipment and clubhouse contents, and upgrading the kitchen were not budgeted in the proposal. Fact: The proposal never meant to include a banquet or restaurant operation. RWMGC had an offer from a local businessman to provide tables and chairs, and had discussions with local caterers and vendors to provide limited food service.

•Claim: Property taxes have to be paid. Fact: Nonprofit RWMGC is eligible for property tax exemption.

•Claim: $25,000 in memberships is not enough to even buy fertilizer. Fact: Advance membership payments were close to $40,000. Income also would come from pledges, green fees, practicerange fees, cart rentals, sales of balls and tees. Historically, MNGL has generated revenues from $750,000 to $1,250,000 annually.

•Claim: The city co-signed a five-year lease for carts. Fact: RWMGC negotiated a three-year equipment lease, to be co-signed by the city with liability limited to $132,000.

•Claim: There is no mechanism for ongoing maintenance. Fact: Proposals budgeted for this.

•Claim: Citizens were misled by Council member Jason Sebion that there would be no financial obligation to the taxpayers. Fact: Sebion was correct. RWMGC agreed to be responsible for course operation and maintenance.

•Claim: It costs over a million dollars to run an 18-hole course. Fact: RWMGC's proposal is to run a 36-hole public course for less than a million dollars, an initial bare-bones operation using citizen capital in the form of gifts, loans and volunteerism.

The public golf course will not cost taxpayers -- unlike the marina, Water Park, library, Athletic Field and Sheldon Theatre. Public facilities are meant to provide the quality of life that civic-minded people value.

Ty & Joan Collinge

Gary & Kirsten Fridell

Roger & Judy Kjome

Red Wing

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