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Goat Hill members greenlight nonprofit effort

The membership of the Shelter Island Country Club has voted 116 to 2 to continue to pursue status as a nonprofit corporation. The go-ahead came via mail-in ballots, the results of which were announced on January 31.

It’s a concept discussed at a pre-Christmas meeting, where members learned that the main advantages would be no sales tax on items purchased to run the club, and no income tax burden for the club. It would also enable the club to accept donations that would be tax deductible for contributors.

Dues, however, would continue to be taxed.

Club President Marc Scola told members that he knew some 30 municipalities have golf courses run as nonprofits.

Some members were concerned the club might be rushing into the process, but Mr. Scola said it takes time to obtain the necessary permission from the state and federal governments and therefore a vote was needed to apply for the status as soon as possible.

Attorney Cathy Ann Kenny, who is a club member, is spearheading the application process.

At the December meeting, Ms. Kenny said if the application for nonprofit status is approved, the club would have to change its bylaws to include a conflict-of-interest section and the club would need a name change.

The-conflict-of-interest policy is necessary to protect the club from entering into any transaction that could benefit the private interests of  an officer or could result in an excess benefit transaction.

Because Shelter Island Town owns the property at Goat Hill, leasing it to the club for a token payment each year, the Town Board would have to approve the move. “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.