Letter: Give the money back
The July 26 edition of our Aspen Times kindly delivered my letter to you respectfully requesting that you and your colleagues at City Hall return the $10,000 fee collected from The Hope Center for use of our municipal golf course. The event was Sheriff Joe DiSalvo’s sponsored golf tournament supporting The Hope Center.
The Hope Center hasn’t received a refund.
I want to believe you all have done the right thing and this is a case of “the check is in the mail.” This letter is to advise you that if this is not the case and The Hope Center does not get the refund it deserves by Aug. 31 and a fee exemption in perpetuity by Thanksgiving, my wife and I will be redirecting where we spend some of our golfing dollars in the future.
My guess is you are thinking, “Why do I care where this old Basalt guy and his wife play their golf? What the heck? They can’t even vote for me.”
Consider the following: My wife and I have purchased Aspen Golf Club season passes of different types for almost two decades. This year, this was a $3,000 expense, which it is our good fortune to be able to afford. As season-pass holders, it is in our best interests to encourage our friends when they come to town to play golf at the course where we have season passes. For the readers who are not golfers, to play a round of golf at Aspen Golf Club, depending on the time of year, costs $99 or $159. I estimate our friends spend conservatively $1,000 to $3,000 annually at the Aspen Golf Club.
Weather permitting, together my wife and I play four to five rounds of golf a week. To rent a golf cart costs $21. I’m an old, husky guy, and my wife has a trick knee, so most days we rent a cart. This is $80 to $100 a week spent at the Aspen Golf Club. Figure this for another $1,600 to $2,000 spent annually.
Old, husky guys get thirsty and hungry after a “strenuous” day riding around the golf course. I have no idea what I spend annually on beers, brats and sandwiches at the Red Mountain Grill (the course restaurant) to rehydrate and refuel.
Mr. Mayor and city staff, again, I encourage you to do the right thing and return the $10,000 to The Hope Center and exempt it from a use fee in perpetuity.
As stated above, if The Hope Center doesn’t get a refund and exemption, part of my family and friends’ golfing dollars are going to be spent elsewhere. Spent elsewhere until you folks do the right thing.
Ask yourselves, are there other season-pass holders out there that think like this guy? I think there are.
Square your shoulders, Mr. Mayor and city staff, and do the right thing. Not all nonprofits are created equal. The Hope Center is vital infrastructure.
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Editor’s note: This letter was directed to Aspen City Council and Mayor Torre.