Re: “U.S. Open task force set” (TNT, 8-13).
University Place’s creation of a three council-member task force to support the U.S. Open is disturbing.
University Place is governed by a seven-member, elected City Council, not a three-member task force. Presumably, the new task force and its members will be subject to public open meetings laws, and meetings will be well-publicized and available for sewer ratepayer and city taxpayer comment and participation.
Ratepayers and taxpayers are already underwriting Chambers Bay course construction and operations losses to the tune of $31 million in loans and tax revenue diversions, without a firm repayment plan.
Councilman Chris Nye says it is important that the city understand what will be required of it to support the event. While U.S. Golf Association is principal planner for the private golfing event, it does not dictate support terms or financial obligations to the city.
It would be inappropriate for Nye and his fellow task-force council members to financially obligate or otherwise commit the city or its taxpayers to support this private golfing event. The city is already $50 million in debt and has cut city services to core service levels.
Let’s welcome golfers, but the USGA, its sponsors and players should pay the full cost of the event. U.S. Open planning should be conducted with the same transparency required for all public expenditures. Adverse community impacts should be minimized.
Substantial repayment of Chambers Bay sewer utility loans, course- modification costs, golf cart procurement, crowd management and security, park restoration and clean-up should be part of the golfing event tab.