Golf, transportation holding up the works


The golf and transportation budgets are currently holding up the 2014-15 budget process, according to the Amsterdam Common Council.

"We need to start looking at if we're going to lay people off, if we're going to have cutbacks," 3rd Ward Alderman Ronald J. Barone Sr. said at a golf budget meeting Tuesday night. "We haven't gotten into any of that. I don't want to be pansying around. We aren't doing anything."

The council had set up meetings with each department to review its proposed budget. The plan of attack has been to comb through the proposed amounts line by line -- something they say has never been done in the past. They then have the opportunity to ask questions and look for room to make cuts.

Once that's completed, the council says it will go back through each proposal to determine what stays and what goes.

The golf budget has been put on hold because it has not yet been determined how the leased golf carts will affect revenue and extra part-time seasonal employees.

Golf Commission member Pam Ritter said the revenue isn't even safe to work with at this point.

"So many numbers have changed from what has been projected from the council's changes in reducing rates," she said of the council's 5 percent cut in course membership fees. "I'm trying to come up with a guesstimate and that's ridiculous. There's so many numbers that have been thrown out, because they're not real."

City Controller Matthew Agresta agreed and said the proposed revenue amount is "completely fictitious."

The council gave the commission a week to organize the numbers and present them with a more accurate picture.

The transportation budget is currently looking at a deficit of $250,000. In the past, bus vendors have not forked over their share of operating costs, leaving the city to pay for maintenance, gas and employees.

Transportation director Cheryl Scott said in the past she hasn't had the support of the controller's office to approach the vendors, so there was nothing she could do.

Now, Agresta has agreed to help and has been setting up meetings with the vendors for this week. He is also organizing one via video-chatting, because it is not local.

Until it is determined whether the bus companies will help split costs, the transportation budget cannot be constructed properly.

Agresta hopes to have the meetings finished soon.

The council scheduled its first public hearing for Tuesday, May 13, at 6 p.m. in the council chambers. Community members will have an opportunity to voice their opinions on the proposed budget.