Parks Leasing Golf Carts, Making Money
County golf courses will have an additional 46 golf carts, which should pay for themselves three times over.
Milwaukee County Parks is going to subsidize a handful of seasonal employees in 2021 with golf carts.
The department recently went before the Milwaukee County Board’s committee on Parks, Energy and Environment, asking for authorization to lease an additional 46 golf carts for 2021.
“Last year was a banner year for our golf courses,” said Jeremy Lucas, parks director of administration and planning.
With the additional 46 golf carts, parks is expecting to generate an additional $115,000 in revenue after the expenses for the golf carts. In 2020, each golf cart leased by the county, on average, generated $3,000 in revenue for the county.
When the chair of the parks committee Sheldon Wasserman heard these figures he said, “Oh, that’s a win.”
The county has an annual structural deficit just from the cost of doing business as usual that was estimated at $16 million in 2020. The amount of revenue the county receives from the state has not kept pace with inflation for approximately a decade. While the amount of revenue the county sends to the state has grown in that time, state revenue to the county has stayed flat or declined each year.
As was the case in 2020, the department’s budget can be made or broken by the revenues it generates through programming.
During the summer, as budget season was approaching, the department was facing a budget deficit of more than $2 million. A report from the Office of the Comptroller showed this was because of revenues that declined when the pandemic hit. By December, that deficit had been reduced by more than $1 million in the span of a few months and was sitting at $300,000.
In 2020, Parks used approximately $80,000 in CARES Act funding to employ a number of seasonal workers, according to a report produced by the department. Lucas said the revenue generated by these 46 additional golf carts will be used to cover the cost of that seasonal labor in 2021.
The parks committee unanimously approved the proposal, it next goes before the full board.