It looks like Luzerne County is giving it to the people in the back pocket again with their announcement to close Moon Lake Park. Their fiscal irresponsibility along with their greed and corruption has once again been taken out on the people that they serve. Over the past several months the county nitwits have instituted a bogus levy tax, performed a joke called reassessment, raised our taxes 15% and now they whack us with the closing of Moon Lake Park. According to their own estimates, Moon Lake attracted between 100,000 and 150,000 people every year. Now due to their diligent efforts to flush money down the toilet "we the people" are getting punished again. It appears that our commissioners have looked at the bottom line of the Moon Lake budget and dropped the fiscal ax. However, if you look at the 2009 Luzerne County budget which is available on their web site, you will see that last year Moon Lake lost $190,379.00. By looking at this number alone you may want to agree with their decision. This amount of money is at least 3 or 4 salaries for their political cronies. God forbid we could not get rid of them. Instead the commissioners take Moon Lake to the chopping block to lop its head off. After a careful examination of the Moon Lake budget, I have a few questions.
1. Under the Parks/Recreation Concessions area of their budget the county claims that they collected $6,500.00 total which includes the sales of soda and food. They also claim that they spent $6,000.00 for these items. This means that they made only $500.00 in the sales of all concession items. Last time I checked they had a pool with a concession along with the boat house down by the lake that sold bait along with munchies. If they only made $500.00 on this stuff something is wrong. My guess would be money is going into someone's pocket.
2. In the areas of personnel, the county is spending $108,990.00 for the employees that work at Moon Lake Park. According to their budget, $73,717.00 goes toward salaries and wages with $45,322.00 being paid out to management. I would guess that they only have one manager there? This means that only $28,395 is going to other employees. Are you kidding me? They must have only one other poor sap working there or a bunch of part timers. The county is also paying $24,480.00 in benefits and $7,043.00 in employer's contribution taxes. My question is do we need a full time manager there in the winter months? I say NOT!
So, what is the solution? I think it is simple. Currently, when you pull into the park you have to go by the station house. If the county charged $2.00 for every person that entered they would actually make money. You would have to pull up to the station, sign in and pay your $2.00. If 100,000 people visit each year as the county states that would bring in an additional $200,000. Based on their numbers this fee would actually give them a profit of about $10,000. They could also have a park permit available for people and families that visit the park on a regular basis. They could charge $20.00 per permit which would give park visitors access to everything in the park including the pool for the entire year. In 2009, the pool at Moon Lake only brought in $5,000.00 in swimming pool fees. This amount seems very low to me. If 10,000 people or 10% of their visitors purchased this park pass they would make $200,000.00. As you know, I am not a big fan of taxes and charges, but in this case I don't think that people who go to Moon Lake would mind paying $2.00 to save the park they love. As for the $20,00 park fee, it may actually save people some money who use the pool a few times a week.
My question is did the county actually look at viable options to keep Moon Lake alive or did they just say ax the bastard because we are losing money on this thing? I think they quickly sentenced the park to death. I am sick and tired of the Luzerne County officials and their pillaging of the people. They keep raising taxes, levying new taxes while cutting services to the people. What the hell are they doing with all of this money? Big changes need to be made and it starts with all of us at election time.
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