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Goat Hill seeking nonprofit status

JULIE LANE PHOTO
The Shelter Island Country Club’s clubhouse.

Shelter Island Country Club members packed Town Hall Saturday morning, December 22, to hear reasons for the club to become a nonprofit organization.

Club Board of Directors President Marc Scola led the meeting.

Other board members present were William Banks, Greg Toner and Mike Higgenson. Nonprofit consultant Bill Mastro, and Cathy Ann Kenny, who is a club member and attorney spearheading the project, were also at the meeting.

Mr. Scola explained that he knew of some 30 municipalities that have golf courses that are nonprofits. “The municipalities own the courses and the people run them,” he added.

It was explained through a question and answer session how the process would unfold.

The main advantage for taking action would be that, as a nonprofit, no sales would have to be paid on items necessary for running the club. It was, however, pointed out that dues would still be taxed. The club would also be free from income tax. Another significant reason for a nonprofit designation would be that the club could solicit tax-deductible donations.

When asked if the board was rushing into this, it was said that the process takes time. And right now the club needs $45,000 for an irrigation study that the directors agreed might generate donations if they were tax deductible. The club would also be able to apply for state and federal grants when it receives nonprofit status.

It was noted that the membership would have to vote on the change. Members would be mailed ballots along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope with boxes to be checked to vote for the move and dissolve the current corporation, or a vote to turn down a change.

Couples would receive two separate ballots. The ballots must have the member’s name.

But if a member doesn’t want to enter a name, the space can be left blank and the vote will count, provided it is a proper ballot with the self-addressed envelope. The board said it hoped to get the ballots out and returned by the end of January.

Ms. Kenny said if the club is successful in achieving the nonprofit designation, the bylaws of the club would have to be changed to include a conflict-of-interest section. She also said that a name change is necessary for the change in status.

Board members will accept suggestions.

The Town Board would have to approve the move, since the town owns the property at Goat Hill and leases it to the club.

“We must inform them of everything,” Mr. Scola said.

Town Councilman Albert Dickson, a club member, was present at the meeting.

The status of “The Flying Goat” restaurant would remain the same, board members said.

Mr. Scola noted that the net bottom line savings from a move could be as much as $8,000 annually. The cost for initiating the nonprofit status change is about $800, it was learned.

Former Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty emphasized that, in the application, it should be noted a list of community projects and other activities beneficial to the public.

The almost 40 members present voted unanimously to send out the ballots.

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