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Club has enough funds to stay open through spring

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Joe Potosky, Aug 19, 2011.

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  1. Joe Potosky

    Joe Potosky Well-Known Member

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    GM Rod and Gun Club has enough funds to stay open through spring

    The Austin Daily Herald - By Matt Peterson - August 19 - MN

    Thursday night, there were more people at the Grand Meadow Rod and Gun Club than there have been in a long time. But they weren’t there for fun.

    In the last several years, the gun club’s property taxes have risen from the mid-$100 range, to nearly $1,200 because of a change in tax classification. The club had been classified as seasonal recreational residential-commercial, but Mower County Assessor Rich Peterson said the classification was changed, along with many other area gun clubs, when his office found the clubs’ classifications were incorrect.

    Now that the club has fallen on hard times, about 20 locals — some club members and some not — are tossing around a lot of ideas to keep the facility operational. Some ideas include increasing membership dues, offering more three- and five-year memberships, asking for donations and possibly holding a chicken shoot this fall.

    Perhaps the most dramatic change could be allowing an outside party to buy the property, which the gun club has been on since 1939, and lease it back to the members. Member Greg Lamp said this was an option, but he didn’t mention who was considering such action. Furthermore, members fear if they sell the property and eventually shut down the club, they’ll never see it again.

    “You lose it and you’re never going to get it back,” member Greg Lamp of Grand Meadow said — something most others agreed with.

    Though the club members didn’t settle on any concrete solutions, they did manage to find a new board of five members, with possibly a sixth. That board also has yet to select positions of seniority, as well.

    For now, Lamp said the club has enough money to operate through next spring. Before several members left the meeting, they each gave $100 a piece toward the club. That may help short term, but the building also needs a new roof. That’s something the new board will have to decide soon as the club makes more plans for this winter.

    ----------------------------------------

    FIRST ARTICLE POSTED ABOUT THE CLUB - AUGUST 17

    Gun club aims to keep facility alive

    Members of a long-standing gun club are trying to hone their sights on an uncertain future.

    The Grand Meadow Rod and Gun Club will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday to determine the club’s future.

    Because of lagging membership and increased property taxes, the club is struggling to make ends meet and keep its property. Along with economic troubles, someone is needed to step up and run the club, located at 75206 on Highway 16 east of Grand Meadow.

    “Our membership numbers have been dwindling, and it takes membership to keep the place active,” said member Greg Lamp.

    Greg’s father, Robert, has been a vital part of running the club, but he said he is too old now to prepare the club for shoots and maintain the property.

    The club opened in 1939 with 65 members, but in recent years has struggled to maintain membership.

    The Grand Meadow Rod and Gun Club had about seven members from Grand Meadow last year — three from the Lamp family — and about 20 to 25 total members, according to Greg.

    Concerns about participation aren’t limited to Grand Meadow, as Greg said the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has expressed concern with participation in many outdoor sports.

    Greg said the club and its property are up-to-date. The gun club has a small kitchen, modern plumbing, range for small-caliber weapons and a trap range for clay discs.

    “The place is ready to roll today,” he said. “We just need some activity.”

    The meeting Thursday will be to see if there’s any way to keep the facility going.

    “Nobody wants to see this place lost,” Greg said.

    Along with membership, more hardship came when the gun club’s tax classification changed, causing an increase in property taxes.

    “From 2007 to the present, the taxes have gone up about 800 percent,” Greg said.

    Up until 2007, property taxes hadn’t surpassed $158 a year, but 2011 taxes are estimated at $1,194, according to Robert.

    “We can’t take in that much revenue,” Robert said.

    The club had been classified as seasonal recreational residential-commercial, but Assessor Rich Peterson said the classification was changed, along with many other area gun clubs, when his office found the clubs’ classifications were incorrect.

    “Them and several other gun clubs were changed that same year,” Peterson said.

    The property tax increase had nothing to do with value, it changed because of classification.

    “A lot of people in the county were reclassified and suffered the results,” Greg said.

    Thursday’s meeting will bring together club supporters to see if anyone wants to step up. Best case scenario, according to Greg, is someone offering to help run the gun club and keep the property and range operating.

    Another solution would be for someone to buy the gun club and keep it operating as a private gun club, according to Robert.

    “I’d like to sell it to somebody that would keep it open as a gun club and do a little remodeling and upgrading,” he said.

    While it wouldn’t be member-run, Greg said it’d be better than losing the permitting that goes into a gun club.

    “If you were to lose this facility, you’d never get it back,” he said.

    The worst-case scenario, according to Greg, would be allowing the property to forfeit on taxes.

    Though membership has dropped in the past, Robert said the club has long been a staple in the Grand Meadow community.

    “That was the social night of the week,” Robert said of the club years ago.

    On Thursday, they’ll look to keep that tradition going.

    “We are really hoping that we’ll get a solution,” Greg said.
     
  2. VNVET

    VNVET Member

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    Sorry to hear about your situation. Many clubs are aging with the members not able to support the club with physical labor. The multi-year memberships are a band aid and will not solve the problem. I suspect it will be difficult to sell to an individual due to the liability of the lead in your shot fall area. Might be better to have the city take it over and run it as a public facility, if they would be willing to do that. Proactive management is necessary for recruiting new members and holding events such as registered shoots, leagues, games, ect. Without the support of a few active members willing to do the work, you will have a wide creek to cross.

    Jim
     
  3. diverdick

    diverdick TS Member

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    Has anyone looked into reclaiming the lead shot off the trap range.It was a very successful source of funds for one of the clubs I belong to.
     
  4. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    You have twenty members. The taxes are $1200, assess each member $60 and you can pay the taxes. And as stated above you can mine the lead from the ranges for additional revenue. HMB
     
  5. b12

    b12 Well-Known Member

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    And who changed the tax laws without representation. These things happen when things aren't questioned. For the tax rate to rise that fast their is certainly other agenda in mine for the property. Bill
     
  6. Winchester M21

    Winchester M21 Member

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    I would suggest putting on a gun show each spring in your local city building or event center as a fund raiser. Our club here in Ulysses Kansas does a show every Feb. and it generates 12-14,000.00 every year and allows to keep target fees down also.

    We just all pitch in and help run it, and have a great time!


    Shawn
     
  7. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    I did some googling... Mower County alone has 40,000 people - maybe the club needs to be a bit more proactive and recruit a few new bodies into the club... if the club fails, its their fault for doing nothing.

    Jay
     
  8. shootem ladies

    shootem ladies TS Member

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    Leagues...youth shooting team.....tournaments.....
    Just a couple ideas. Sounds like you need some young blood in there and a push for more members?!
    Let us know if any shoots are planned......
     
  9. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    Assess each member their portion (%) of the new tax. Then add an extra 25 cents to each practice round in the future to cover next years taxes. Seems like a no brainer to me.
     
  10. Sam Ogle

    Sam Ogle Member

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    Gun clubs used to be considered a part of patriotic America; a place where the folks who defended our country went for entertainment. They were the hang outs of the Veterans, including Mayors, Governors, and County officials.
    Today, Counties, hungry for money, are raising taxes on these organizations, because they have been so loosely organized, they cannot mount a quick enough or strong enough defense against their local governments. It's happening everywhere.

    But, let me get this straight: The county raised your real estate taxes; so you replaced the board of directors?
    Let me see; you got rid of five who were willing to work for the club?
    I hope you are a skilled people person who can mend some hurts, yet I sympathize with your problem.
    A raise in dues can offset it, a raise in shooting prices can too, and mining the lead is a wonderful idea. It has actually saved gun clubs.

    Sam Ogle, Lincoln, NE
     
  11. deadpair51

    deadpair51 Member

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    The lead mining is a great idea. How many acres of property are there in the club ? Are there enough to add another venue ? Sporting clays or put up a 5 stand ? 3D archery ? Perhaps lease out deer hunting rights ? This would bring in new members with fresh idea's. And maybe a generous roofing contractor ? Good luck and don't give up the fight !
     
  12. earlybird

    earlybird TS Member

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    Joe; check your pm
     
  13. ctreay

    ctreay Member

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    As there are several clubs that were raised in thier assesments how about all getting together and preparing a grievence to present to the assesment review board. At the very least this may buy you another year or so until the board meets and makes a decision. I think it would be in your best interest's to go as a group and not individualy. I served on the review board here in upstate NY for several years and saw many assesments cut.

    ctreay
     
  14. diverdick

    diverdick TS Member

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