By Joshua Mizrachi
This past week, the Amberley Village council made the decision to pay off the huge debt from acquiring Amberley Green.
Amberley Green was formerly known as Crest Hills Country Club, with an 18 hole golf course, a club house, a pool and tennis courts. The council purchased the land back in the early 2000s and has been in debt for close to $6 million since then.
With the recent passing of Dr. Stanley Kaplan, Amberley Village was awarded nearly $5.5 million from his estate through the estate tax. They chose to use this money to pay off the majority of the debt owed on Amberley Green.
“There are members of Council who had expressed that any estate tax remittance be devoted toward paying down the principal of the Amberley Green debt. A resolution had already been passed at the September Council meeting to reduce the debt by $500,000. When the Village was notified of the recent estate tax remittance, the Finance Committee held a public hearing (last Friday, Sept. 21) on the disposition of the tax. While several options on the future disposition of the estate tax remittance were shared by the Village Manager, there was overwhelming sentiment to apply all the tax remittance and eliminate the Green debt. The advantages of doing this include removing a tremendous financial burden on Village residents and putting the Village on the road of fiscal stability and control. This would also free the Green of encumbrances that could delay any development of the Green,” said council member Ray Warren.
He went on further to say “Since the deadline for the bond issue to finance the Green was fast approaching, the Finance Committee met to make their
recommendation and now Council will meet to issue its opinion.”
“Related to this was that the Village was recently rated by Moody’s and was given a stellar ‘Aa’ rating. This rating was obtained BEFORE paying off the Green. In the event the Village needs to secure debt in the future, we are sitting in a very favorable and enviable position when compared to other jurisdictions. Personally, I applaud the work of the Finance Committee. This is a great day for Amberley Village.”
On Monday night, the resolution was passed by a unanimous vote of the Council that $5,712,000 be appropriated to retire the Land Acquisition Bond Anticipation Notes. These notes will be paid off before their Oct. 4, 2012 deadline.
With the debt paid off it leaves numerous possibilities open. The most common idea that has been spoken amongst residents of Amberley is to partner with a management company and restore the Country Club back to its former glory with an updated social hall for festivities such as bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, and other family celebrations.
“This could be a draw for people from all over Cincinnati. The Club House could be turned into a beautiful wedding hall like The Oasis out in Loveland. With a possible 80-20 split over revenue, Amberley Village would be able to generate its own income without taxing the residents,” said Amberley Village resident Andy Sollofe.
Recently the City of Blue Ash invested millions into its golf course club house. They now have the ability to host weddings and other social events. The renovations bring it up to date allowing for social events that generate income for the city.