This letter is in regards to the recent passing of the Rhinelander golf pro getting a contract extension. This is a big mistake made by the City Council to approve this. The Rhinelander golf course has lost money over the last number of years under the watch of Mr. Buckley. He claims he only makes a $20,000 plus a year salary. This may be true. He also gets a percentage of cart rentals (city-owned), and 90 percent of the bar cart which was around $35,000 last year. He so generously gave the city one percent more of the bar cart to the tune of $350. That amount will really help the city out in the long run. This amount is ridiculous to even say you are going to help solve your problem.
City employees, both union and nonunion made concessions to help the city out of its $1.2 million deficit-a deficit created by making the same budgeting mistake three years in a row. Union employees started paying their 5.9 percent to their retirement a year early because they are still under contract. Two months of those employees paying that amount early is more than Mr. Buckley will give up in one year.
I know public employees aren’t high on most people’s list, but this particular so-called public employee has not been doing his job for years, costing the taxpayers more every year because the debt has been made up from the general fund. I find it funny that other golf courses in the Northwoods make money, but not ours. If Mr. Buckley ran a private course, he would have been terminated years ago.
Raising fees obviously is not the answer, because it drives customers to go to other courses like Pinewood or Inshalla. Taking away city employees’ memberships for a reduced rate is not the answer. I don’t believe this will solve the financial problem either. Maybe it’s time to cut ties with Mr. Buckley before the 2012 golf course debt gets taken out on city employees, and most importantly, the taxpayers who pay for a golf course that can’t turn a profit.
My letter in no way is aimed at the maintenance crew at the course. They do a fantastic job and deserve some praise.
Jeremy Walker, Rhinelander
Member Local 1226, City of Rhinelander Public Works