Deal includes "gated golf cart path" for next-door subdivision   

COLUMBIA, Mo 4/1/16 (Beat Byte)
-- Unless you're living under a rock, you've heard how *broke* the City of Columbia is. 

No money for more police.  No money for adequate sewers.  Not enough money for stormwater drainage without a big rate increase voters approved last year. 

So poor, in fact, that City Hall has raised rates, fees, and fines 43 times since city manager Mike Matthes took office in 2011, including 19 times this fiscal year.   

You've also probably heard about Matthes' community "equity" plan, which aims to help lower income neighborhoods with about $100,000 for four new temporary staff positions

So you might wonder why City Council members last week approved spending $318,000 for 16 acres of land to expand a golf course.     

Reason #6 in a staff report about the purchase says it's all about "Equity:  L . A . Nickell Golf Course is located on the far west side of Columbia.    This will establish a driving range for Columbia citizens living on the eastern side of Columbia."  

Reason #9
City Council members approved the purchase:  "Increased rounds.   Golfers want to warm-up prior to playing and prefer to play on courses and in tournaments that have driving ranges," the staff report explains.   

The $20,000 per acre sales price continues a land bonanza around Battle High School for the St. Charles Road Development Group, a partnership between some of Columbia's richest, most prominent men:  Tom Atkins, Scott Atkins, Bob Pugh, Rob Wolverton, and the estate of Bob Lemone.   

The gang of five has already sold land around the new high school to both Columbia Public Schools and City Hall for millions, while taking advantage of tax-and-ratepayer infrastructure for their Somerset Village subdivision next door. 

As part of the deal, the parks department will spend tax money to build "a cart path from the golf course to Somerset Village.   A gate designed, constructed and maintained by the City...will allow Somerset residents access to the golf course whenever it is open for  play.  Golf staff will be responsible for opening/closing the gate."

Meanwhile, Mr. Matthes wants to raise property taxes for more cops -- again.