Golf course a sand-trap for your tax dollars?

Golf course a sand-trap for your tax dollars? »Play Video
KENNEWICK -- We're always on the lookout to see how your tax dollars are being spent. You may recall the city of Kennewick funds the golf course at Columbia Park.

KEPR learned the golf course has lost money every year for the last three years. We looked into whether this is a worthy investment of your tax dollars.

Golfer Galen Freed is a fan of the par-3 course at Columbia Park, owned by the City of Kennewick.
"It's inexpensive compared to a lot of the other courses and besides that, it's well-kept and the greens are nice," he says.

Galen visits the course almost every weekday. He thinks it's a great option for locals, even if the city is losing money every year. Fellow golfer Brian Norton disagrees. He was surprised to hear Kennewick lost 81,000 on the course just last year. Nearly 150,000 for the last two-years.

"That's way too much money just for a little 3 par course," Brian says.

The City of Kennewick is okay with the course operating at a loss. I asked Evelyn Lusignan, who works for the City, if this was a good use of your tax dollars.

"Well, like with any of our other programs, we're always looking at the costs versus the benefits to our citizens and the priority for that," she says.

And the city sees it as a benefit. Much as the same way the Toyota Center operates at a loss year after year. It's still a benefit to the Tri-Cities.

"The golf course is is a great amenity to our community. It's a place for people to go with their families and we have lots of great youth programs that it's bringing to Kennewick and the Tri-Cities," Evelyn added.

The city pays an outside company about 70-grand a year to operate the course. And even if it doesn't turn a profit it's there are no plans to sell it.

You may recall the Columbia Park golf course was the center of a lawsuit that dragged on for years. Ultimately, Kennewick was found at fault and ordered to pay millions to the former operator of the course.

The city settled for more than two-million dollars. That operator is not the same person running the course today.