I know what Michael Sanera would say about this, but Wilmington used to boast of having the 50th-most popular municipal golf course in the country, where as of 2009 golfers could play a round of 18 holes for less than $20. (Could a property tax–paying, private golf course offer golfers a similar rate? Highly doubtful.)
Last year the City of Wilmington paid over $120,000 to John Fought Design Golf Course Architecture to make improvements to the course, a project that was initially estimated to cost $700,000.
Now, however, WWAY reports that the project “will most likely cost more than $1 million.” Which is, depending on how much more than $1 mill it turns out to be, at least 43 percent above original estimates.
As Sanera put it,
By providing a free or highly subsidized activity, the P&R department creates a special-interest group out of people interested in that activity who will lobby for its continuation and expansion, transferring the costs to taxpayers who may not benefit. For example, the losses incurred by city golf courses (see graphic below) are paid by the general taxpayers for the benefit of a small group of golfers, whose incomes are generally higher than the average city taxpayer’s.