Watertown’s mayoral candidates weigh in on latest golf course appraisal news

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 5:04 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The latest news about the appraisal of the former Watertown Golf Club and its purchase is at the heart of the debate between the city’s two mayoral candidates.

Sarah Compo Pierce and Lisa Ruggiero are polar opposites when it comes to the city buying the course. As members of city council, Compo Pierce opposed the purchase while Ruggiero supported it.

City Manager Ken Mix said Wednesday that golf carts, tractors and other rolling stock were not valued as much as they likely should have been in a recent appraisal of the Thompson Park Golf Course, meaning the recent $1.1 million appraisal should be a bit more.

Compo Pierce says although the appraisal could be more than the original, she doesn’t see how the value could reach what the city paid: $3.4 million.

“I think I speak on behalf of a lot of people when I say that it is not only frustrating, it is also very concerning,” she said.

Compo Pierce still believes an appraisal should have been done before the purchase. She says it shows taxpayers didn’t get the best deal possible.

Compo Pierce also raises a question of who taxpayers are trusting with their money.

“I can see where it would be very difficult for the taxpayers to trust the individuals who approved this deal because it is very clear they did not have the best interest of the taxpayers in mind,” she said.

In response, Ruggiero says former city attorney Bob Slye never advised the city council to get an appraisal or an inspection until after the majority voted to do the deal.

Now with an appraisal done and made public, Ruggiero wishes it would have included better values on the rolling stock equipment.

“What we’re hearing is a narrative of $1.1 million but nobody is talking about the items that were completely left out of that appraisal,” she said.

Both candidates told 7 News it’s in both of their interests to make the Thompson Park Golf Course successful.