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New government resort

February 17, 2010
By State Rep. Lance Horbach (R-Tama)
A couple of weeks ago, I was in southern Iowa on business and I was close to Honey Creek Resort, the new DNR destination resort on Rathbun Lake. I remembered that they were running a deficit of $900,000 so Ithought I would stop and look it over.

After all, losing almost a million dollars a year, I figured we’d be voting on something while in session and I thought I would be more informed if I stopped to look around.

The resort is a wonderful place; the facilities are second to none in Iowa. Wonderful hotel, restaurant, convention center, bike trails, championship golf course, and wonderful lake accessories.

The last part of my tour was the pool, thinking if you’ve seen one hotel pool you’ve seen them all. BOY, was I wrong! There was a decorative baby pool, with mini slides and fountains. Adjacent was a typical pool, with a ropeladder hanging above and air-filled pods to jump on.

As I stood there I could imagine my grandson climbing across and then purposely falling to the water. It was every young boy’s dream!

The third pool was a lazy river, meandering lazily screaming of relaxation. In the corner, was a monster-size hot tub set up on a pedestal so the relaxing parents could keep a watchful eye on playing children.

All four pools are located in a barn-like structure, and in the lofts, on-lookers could watch and wish they’d brought their suits.

At this point, I was hooked. I knew Jody and I would some day soon bring our grandchildren down to this fine resort. I asked the manager what the room rates were for this facility.

He couldn’t answer definitivelybecause they have different rates for different seasons. But ball-parking the rate he told me some where between $149 - $189 depending on the season. One would think that’s pretty expense if you hadn’t seen the resort. I thought that was a fair price and if the conversation would have ended there I would have left a happy camper.

As we started walking away from the pool he told me, “The government employee rate is $70 and the DNR rate is $59.”

I wanted shout, “SAY WHAT???”, but remaining courteous all I could say was “Really?”

Think about this?

This is a taxpayer-funded, taxpayer-owned facility and their rate is almost 3 times the rate of government employees? That is SO wrong!

Yes, other motels provide government discounts, but they don’t send the taxpayers the bill, nor do the taxpayers own the motel. I asked the DNR about the pricing, in fairness the DNR leases the facility operations out to a third-party company, I believe from Minnesota.

I was told they set the rates, and I was also corrected that the $59 DNR was also for all government employees, except Federal government employees, theywould pay $70.

Listen, I want this facility to be successful, it’s a great resort...but pricing this destination site as a government get away, further reflects how State government has lost touch with Iowa’s bill payers!

Article Photos

State Rep. Lance Horbach



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