The city-owned golf course, The Links at Brigantine will end 2015 with at least $300,000 worth of debt. Local taxpayers will handle the shortfall.
According to The Press of Atlantic City, Mayor Phil Guenther said the golf course makes enough to cover its operating budget, but not the debt service.
Earlier this year, Guenther voted against having the popular Ron Jaworski Golf Management Company lease and manage the money-losing course on the north end of the island.
Growing expenses at the course are often blamed on Brigantine’s current management contract with a no-longer successful company in Florida called Meadowbrook Golf.
|Meadowbrook Golf, Inc.|
|5385 Gateway Blvd, Suite 12 · Lakeland, FL · 33811-1785|
In 2009, Meadowbrook LLC managed 12 courses. Today Meadowbrook has only one golf course to manage: Brigantine.
Over the past 10 years, the city paid $10,000 a month to Meadowbrook. Recently, that number has been reduced to $6,000 for services unknown. The Meadowbrook contract ends Dec 31, 2015.
Other items that contribute to The Links mounting losses: golf course tenant Mike ‘Mad Dog’ Morgan is only required to pay $1,000 per month to cover his utilities at the ‘Links Pub & Grill’, which he operates.
Oddly, Morgan was directed by Brigantine City Council to also pay Meadowbrook $1,500 a month and an annual service fee of $2,000.
Do the math. That’s $20,000 per year that could go directly to paying down The Links debt. Instead, it’s being directed to a barely alive LLC in Florida. To date, Brigantine City Manager Stinson has been unable to provide a list of golf management services that Meadowbrook provides.
Meadowbrook services seems to have little or no connection to paying employees, providing supplies or actual management of the Brigantine Golf Course.
Stinson has yet to announce if Morgan was eventually issued a State Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control concessionaire’s permit to sell alcoholic beverages at the course. Until that application is/was approved, Meadowbrook LLC is the official alcoholic beverage provider at The Links.
In 2016, The Links will be managed and maintained by the Atlantic County Improvement Authority (ACIA). Brigantine City Council recently approved a shared services agreement with the ACIA for management of the course. The agreement covers both management and maintenance. The nonprofit ACIA currently manages the county’s Green Tree Golf Course in Egg Harbor Township.
The 18-hole Brigantine Golf Links was built in 1927. Brigantine purchased the course in 2002 for $4.3 million using $800,000 in Green Acres funding.
In 2007, the Brigantine Links Golf course was profitable, bringing in $2 million. Today, it’s at least $300,000 in the red.
Watch video from July 2009. Council is made aware that taxpayers will ultimately start covering mounting losses. Mayor Guenther references the infamous Meadowbrook Golf. WATCH VIDEO>
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How to Request Brigantine Documents via OPRA