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LETTER

Editor's Note: The following was sent to TONH Supervisor May Newburger and reprinted here at the writer's request.

"Reality Check" Needed on Fees at Harbor Links

After reading a recent article in Newsday concerning the proposed fee structure for the use of the town's new Harbor Links golf facility, I wrote a letter to your commissioner of Parks and Recreation, a copy of which is enclosed. While I do not think it is necessary to repeat the contents of that letter, I do believe it is appropriate to express my disappointment and anger to you that you and the town board would agree to impose these outrageous fees. When first proposed, I thought that the creation of this new park was a tremendous idea. Golf is a great sport that is becoming more and more popular with people of all income brackets due, in part, to the aging of the baby boom generation. I thought that the site for this new golf course was ideal and that its construction would be very well received and would help alleviate the long waiting times for town residents that prevail at the county and state golf facilities on Long Island. However, with the proposed fee structure put forth by your commissioner, you will be putting the use of this facility out of the economic reach of the vast majority of town taxpayers. To expect a middle income couple to pay $112 to play a round of golf, including $30 for the mandatory golf cart, on a golf course built with tax dollars is outrageous. Ignoring, for the moment, the fact that these proposed fees are dramatically out of line with the fees charged at the county and state golf courses, these fees are not what was envisioned by the vast majority of taxpayers when this facility was first proposed. Had that been the case, I am sure you would have had a taxpayers' revolt on your hands concerning the expenditure of town tax money that will benefit the wealthy few. From the point of view of comparability, how can you consider charging a $41 greens fee on weekends, when taxpayers can play the Bethpage Black course for only $30. Bethpage Black is scheduled to be the site of the US Open in 2002. Is anyone on the town board or in the parks department crazy enough to believe that playing Harbor Links will be comparable to playing Bethpage Black? If so, they need a reality check! With the fee structure that has been proposed, I am sure that the financial results of the Harbor Links facility will be disastrous. Having already paid for this facility with their hard-earned tax dollars, I am sure that most taxpayers will not use this facility because of the cost, and will hold you and the rest of the town board responsible.

In 1997, you were re-elected by a very slim margin. I enthusiastically voted for you in 1997 and anticipated doing so again in the future. However, if this matter is let stand, I can assure you that you will not receive my vote in the next election and that many other golfers will feel the same way. Moreover, you can also be sure that the outrageous fee structure you have proposed will be an issue in the next election and used to illustrate how you are out of touch with the economic reality of the taxpayers in the Town of North Hempstead.




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