Letter: Save tax dollars: Say yes to RWMG Corp.When I ran for Red Wing City Council, one of my goals was to increase meaningful communication between the council and residents. Another was to keep a watchful eye on spending and look for the best deal for taxpayers. With those goals in mind, I want to make sure residents understand what Mississippi National Golf Course is costing us.
By: Jason Sebion, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
When I ran for Red Wing City Council, one of my goals was to increase meaningful communication between the council and residents. Another was to keep a watchful eye on spending and look for the best deal for taxpayers. With those goals in mind, I want to make sure residents understand what Mississippi National Golf Course is costing us.
On Feb. 25, we approved $200,000 to "mothball" MNGL. This doesn’t include taxes, equipment, security, utilities and basic maintenance, which could add $175,000. The city currently pays $14,000 per month to an outside company for maintenance and $5,000 per year for insurance.
On March 11, we approved opening just the driving range at a projected cost of $26,500 with the hope of recouping $8,000 in user fees.
It all adds up to over $400,000.
There is a solution. The Red Wing Municipal Golf Corp. is a dedicated group of local citizens. They formed a non-profit organization to take over MNGL and save the above taxpayer expense. They want no money from Red Wing taxpayers. They just want a chance to make the golf course successful.
Some would say they are under-funded dreamers, but so were the Wright Brothers, Henry Ford and countless other Americans who worked hard, made their dreams come true and improved the lives of others in the process.
Two reasons voiced for not letting the RWMG try to make Mississippi National successful: The unpaid bond left from the former leaseholder might require any new operator to turn over all funds to the bank, and, the City Council already voted not to open the course in 2013.
The answers: The city attorney's position is the bank would not be entitled to the revenue. This issue can be reconsidered by the City Council.
Like many residents, I do not play golf, but we all have an interest in saving tax dollars as well as the economic health of our community. Allowing MNGL to remain open will make Red Wing a more attractive destination for tourists, who spend money in all areas of town.
I intend to revisit the issue March 25.
If you want to save $400.000 of your tax money and preserve a local landmark, call or email your council members. Then come to the March 25 City Council meeting. I hope to see everyone who hates government waste and likes the idea of giving local folks a chance to contribute to our community's future.
Jason Sebion represents Red Wing Ward 1.