INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. and#8212; We have heard diatribes in the past two years about how we run the District. Two local citizens feel each venue should make a profit, and if they donand#8217;t, they should be outsourced or discontinued. There should be no rec fee.
We have looked at each venue and have scrutinized and modified them accordingly. We strive to make them profitable without competing adversely with local businesses. We have recently looked at outsourcing golf. We have decided to add a small amount of money to the golf marketing budget to drive more revenue. Nationally, almost every course is losing money. The demographic is changing in a down economy. Courses that sought to drive more rounds over and above what the course can manage have seen their greens and fairways suffer. We prefer to attain a balance to preserve our investment and create the experience our golfers expect. It is a work in progress.
The District has subsidized our venues from the outset because our homeowners, shareholders, stakeholders wanted the amenities. We wanted beaches, golf courses, tennis, a rec center, a ski mountain, and parks. We strive to make each department self-sufficient.
Even with the lack of snow, we held our losses to a minimum. Upper level staff worked the lifts while we eliminated jobs to save money. Brad Wilson made changes quickly and efficiently. For a little over $2.27 a day, we sustain our community. And despite setbacks, have made budget.
Yet, you complain that the rec fee is too high. There are folks here today that have had larger dinner tabs and bar bills than the rec fee. This economy has created the opportunity to look at government differently. With very little money, efficiency has become the operative word. We have cut staff, cut expenses, cut benefits and held the rec fee to $830.
Had we had the foresight years ago to implement the proper long range strategies that we now have, thanks to our general manager and department heads, our rec fee would, in fact, be lower. We would have had a plan to replace our aging infrastructure and build our reserves in a timely manner.
As we replace our buildings and venues, we are concerned about longevity. It is the foundation of every CIP, giving the District the best value for the investment. Our projects now are brought forward as an upside down pyramid. IVGID Engineering Manager Brad Johnson has been instrumental in this approach. We put everything on the table that we want, and eliminate things until we get to a place that we can afford, still make sense, and that the community supports.
Employee morale in the public sector is at an all-time low. No raises, cuts in benefits, cuts in hours and modification of full time schedules have had an adverse effect. And on top of that, we have community members pounding them. Wow, some got a 2 percent adjustment on their salary. On a $60,000 income, that is a raise of $100 a month. Wow. Thatand#8217;s $25 a week, or $0.63 an hour.
Customer service will eventually suffer as our employees become more disillusioned and staff is cut further. Our department heads have been called liars and thieves. Many of these unsung heroes quietly go about their jobs and ignore the attacks. Others quit. It is a basic human need to be appreciated and accepted. These vexatious, meritless, frivolous attacks must stop.
This relentless pursuit of impropriety is disgusting and exhausting. It has cost the district thousands of dollars in legal fees, staff time and related materials. As for the Utility Fee, we are stewards of the lake. The effluent export project, which has been funded, largely by government grants that Mr. Horn and our lobbyists have been able to procure for us, have evaporated. If this lake becomes another Lake Mead or Clear lake, people will leave. Tourists will not come here.
We have been accused of giving away our assets. I am talking about the Parasol building. The nonprofits associated with this endeavor have given hundreds of thousands of dollars back to the community in volunteer hours, emotional support, in-kind contributions, food, clothing, teaching and other programs.
Our collaborations with the Hyatt and Sierra Nevada College serve our District creating jobs, infusing revenue, and providing affordable education and housing. Mike Croke, Fred Findlen, Richard Rubsamen, and our District manager are not thieves. They are not taking kickbacks. No impropriety exists. Quite the opposite. People continue to lose their jobs, their livelihoods, their homes. The new homeless are now people like you and I. And beach access is a major issue? Open Meeting Laws are an issue? Perceived ethics violations are an issue? I think not.
and#8212; Bruce Simonian is an IVGID trustee.