“Ann Arbor’s two city-run golf courses have lost a combined $2.25million over the past five years, requiring a sizable subsidy from the city’s general fund. The city’s plan to resolve the deficit is to eliminate the golf course enterprise fund at the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year and transfer golf operations to the general fund starting July 1. That means the golf budget will be included as part of the city’s nearly $80 million general fund budget that pays for core services like police and fire protection.”  -Ryan Stanton, annarbor.com

Golf courses can be problematic for local units of government as they typically require subsidies from other government funds to operate in the black and are ripe for state mandated “Deficit Elimination Plans”– which is kind of like being in the penalty box.

Ann Arbor’s fund changes resolve a transparency question that often arises when money is being shuffled between different fund types (savings accounts for the average person) this makes it easier to identify the true cost of the operation.  Hats off to Ann Arbor– this will negate the possibility of them picking up a negative point in a new Fiscal Scoring Algorithm, which frowns upon these types of intra-fund transfers.

See the article on fiscal scoring in Sunday’s Free Press for more information or visit munetrix.com to see fiscal scores from 2012/2011 and prior, rather than the 2009 scores posted on the state’s site. Financial transparency is much more than knowing the numbers from three years ago. Yes, they play a role,but are far less effective when combined with the current financial information.

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