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Time for decision on whether to buy golf course
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Forsyth County News
Some members of the Forsyth County Commission favor signing a 99-year lease with a private company to operate a golf course that would be owned by the county. At the rate the commission is going, it’s going to be that long before the commission ever makes a decision on whether to buy the course.

The debate over Lanier Golf Course has been a divisive issue on the commission for two years, and still seems no closer to a resolution that it did months ago.

Enough already.

Last week commissioners decided they would not put the purchase of the course on a referendum for the voters to consider. OK, now what? The issue has been talked to death. It’s time for an endgame.

The county has a lot of other business that needs to be handled. It doesn’t need to continue rehashing the golf course debate every few weeks to no constructive conclusion.

The commission has decided it does not want to let the voters of the county make a decision on buying the course. In that case, it’s time for the commission to make one.

The golf course issue is controversial and political. Votes cast on either side will be challenged and second-guessed by some.

Such decisions are not easily made, but service in public office is not an easy task.

For Commission Chairman Charles Laughinghouse, a golf course vote may well be his legacy. Fairly or not, people often only remember the last major actions taken by an elected official, and Laughinghouse leaves office at year’s end after two terms on the board.

Mr. Chairman, how will you vote?

For Commissioner Jim Harrell, a vote on the golf course will have re-election implications. He has been a proponent of buying the course and having it operated by a private company. That said, it’s time to get a vote for or against on the record so his candidacy can be validated or repudiated by the residents of his district on election day.

Commissioner Jim Boff is not facing re-election this year, but he too has been a proponent of buying the course.

If it is his conviction that the proposal is the best thing for the county, that the money will be well spent, and that the operational plan being considered is legal and appropriate, then he needs to push for a vote to make it happen.

Commissioners Brian Tam and Patrick Bell have been outspoken in their opposition to purchasing the course. Their course of action would be to initiate a vote that would remove the golf course from consideration and discussion.

There are two ways for county commissioners to make big decisions on difficult issues: They can put such issues in front of the voters in a referendum, or they can act as the peoples’ representatives and vote themselves.

Having foregone the referendum route, it time for a final commission vote.