Every year since 2003, we have heard the claims by the Audubon Commission and Audubon Nature Institute that their controversial new golf course is "a success!" When they constructed it in 2001-2002 with $6 million mostly public dollars, they claimed the project was necessary in order to raise money for maintenance and support of Audubon Park. But every year when we dutifully update the financial numbers that are supposed to support the Audubon Commission's claims of "success" and "support for the park", we find only financial losses. Usually big ones.
But starting in 2016, things changed, and not in a good way. For the 20 years between 1995 and 2015, it was a simple process to determine each year's golf course losses because the facility had its own column in the public "Schedule of Revenues and Expenses", along with all the other Audubon Commission facilities. But starting in 2016, lo and behold, the golf course numbers were rolled into the park and zoo numbers so they would no longer be immediately detectable! No one on the Audubon Commission seems to know who authorized this change in their public records either.
So much for transparency by a public body that is supposed to be answerable to the public.
But we persevered, and used public record requests to determine the ongoing golf course losses. In 2016, golf course losses totaled $717,200 even BEFORE a modest approximation of $500,000 of depreciation was added (13% of total park depreciation), for a grand total of approximately a $1.2 million dollar loss in 2016. In 2017, the golf course only lost $83,400 before depreciation of about $500,000 was added in. Since depreciation breakdown by facility was no longer part of the public record, the total operating losses were probably even more, since total park depreciation and amortization numbers also soared, from $3,753,067 in 2015 to $4,314,435 in 2016 and $4,550,168 in 2017.
Audubon Commission Combining Statement of Revenues and Expenses, 1995-2004