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Audit Critical of Golf Course and Airport Operating at a Loss - KOAM TV 7

Audit Critical of Golf Course and Airport Operating at a Loss

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  The Joplin audit isn't just about the city's dealings with a master developer.

     The bulk of it deals with city finances, policies and procedures including how Joplin's airport and golf courses both operate at a loss.

A group of regular golfers takes to the course  at Schifferdecker park. According to the state auditor  it operates at a loss with funding subsidies from the city or more than two hundred  thousand dollars each of the last two years.

Golfer Sam Morton says, "It’s gonna operate at a loss until they make some improvements."

Golfers want better cart paths as current ones  have potholes. Plus they say  work is needed  on the fairways and roughs.

A  golf pro was  hired  to get people ther  and increase  rounds played,  but even he says a driving range is needed to help with lessons . Along with better mowers and cart barn that better protects them from dirt and dust.

The city manager says it’s a money issue. Sam Anselm says, “An increase in fees on the golf course  was something we looked at and the  finance committee that reviewed that list of  recommendations said we still need to purchase more capitol equipment. Well the challenge we have with the budget, there’s  not the money there to purchase that capitol equipment."

It’s not just the golf course. The state auditor says the airport also operates at a loss. Her suggestion for making money at the airport is to  charge for parking. City officials disagree.

Anselms says, "We believe that free parking at the airport  is an incentive to encourage people to use the Joplin regional airport.  So, again a difference of opinion." Free parking will stay.

The city manager says the airport will need to improve making sure leases of hangars are up to date and billing is checked.

And he says parks and recreation has a new system to track and manage cash collections at the golf course and pools  something else the auditor criticized. 

City finance director Leslie Haase says, "Nowhere  in this report does it say we have lost revenues  or anything like that.  It’s just making recommendations.  Making sure we're segregating duties and making sure that nothing inappropriate could happen. They did not  find anything inappropriate as far as cash handling."

And golfers believe even more money would come with a better golf course.

Mortons says, "We draw businesses here and one of the things they're gonna look at are our facilities"

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