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Goat Hill board says there’s a ‘new sheriff in town’

REPORTER FILE PHOTO The Shelter Island Country Club will have a new eatery, The Flying Goat, and financial reforms for the 2017 season, according to a report presented to the Town Board Tuesday.
REPORTER FILE PHOTO The Shelter Island Country Club will have a new eatery, The Flying Goat, and financial reforms for the 2017 season, according to a report presented to the Town Board Tuesday.

A new group of officers on the Shelter Island Country Club’s (SICC) board of directors reported to the Town Board Tuesday on plans to overcome serious financial problems.

According to a report presented to the board, membership revenue for the club at Goat Hill last year was down 25 percent over 2015, greens fees were off 18 percent, bar sales took a 40 percent hit and the total income of the club was down 34 percent.

The club survived, according to the officers, by reducing costs by 36 percent, relying on volunteers for basic maintenance and taking a bridge loan of $10,000 from the town. The town owns the Goat Hill property — assessed in 2015 at $766,600 — and leases it to the nonprofit SICC for $1 a year.

Gordon Gooding, chairman of the SICC’s financial committee, said it was necessary to “learn from the past,” and that the group of new officers meant there was “a new sheriff in town.”

To make the 115 year-old institution viable financially, the SICC has contracted with John DeLeo to operate the restaurant and bar, dubbed The Flying Goat. Mr. DeLeo, who has operated restaurants at other clubs on the East End, has signed a three-year lease with the SICC.

The restaurateur told the board Tuesday that the new eatery would be family friendly, offering “good food at affordable prices.”

Over the past several years, there have been a series of restaurant operators. Fresh closed just before Labor Day in 2013, succeeded by Fairway in 2014 and VUE in 2015. Endless Grille, operated by veteran restaurateur Peter Ambrose, was gone at the end of the 2016 season.

What’s new this year is the restaurant operator now will collect the bar receipts. In the past the club took all wine, liquor and beer sales.

Mr. Gooding noted that the new plan means the SICC will pay no bar expenses including bar payroll or taxes, insurance for worker’s compensation and utilities. The reduced or eliminated expenses with the new restaurant deal means that $117,000 in expenses have been either reduced or eliminated, Mr. Gooding said.

A comprehensive drive to bring in new members is under way, said Belle Lareau, chairwoman of the development committee. There is a renewed focus on improving the golf course and a fundraiser to support the SICC is ticketed for June, Ms. Lareau said.
To keep new financial reforms in place and to save money, bookkeeping will be done in house and there will be a monthly review and oversight by the financial committee, Mr. Gooding said.

He thanked the board for its assistance and loyalty to the club.

In other business: Tim Purtell, chairman of the Green options Advisory Committee, told the board the electric vehicle charging station slated for the Island will most likely be on a piece of town-owned property between police headquarters and Justice Court.

In order to qualify for a New York State grant by being named a “Clean Energy Community,” Shelter Island has to achieve four “energy action” items, and is on pace to complete the requirements. The first community to qualify would receive $100,000, and other communities could receive as much as $50,000.

To comply, the town has filed a standardized application to streamline the approval process for installing solar energy in the community; put together an annual report of energy use in town-owned buildings; set up training for three town officials, including one from the Building Department and others involved in working on improving energy consumption; and meet a requirement to invest in alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure. The new electric vehicle charging station will fulfill the final requirement.

A state grant will pick up 80 percent of the cost, which could be anywhere between $16,000 and $20,000, Mr. Purtell said, and the town will pick up the rest, most likely from the Highway Department’s budget.

There are approximately 25 electric vehicles on the Island, according to Mr. Purtell. There is an app for the proposed charging station, so drivers of electric vehicles passing through will be aware of the location of the charging station in the Center.