05/23/17 — City to raise fees at municipal golf course

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City to raise fees at municipal golf course

By Rochelle Moore
Published in News on May 23, 2017 9:57 AM

Fees for the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course are planned to increase by 10 percent without a city resident discount, following a Monday decision by the Goldsboro City Council.

The council decided to amend its April decision that involved increasing fees at a higher rate and providing city residents with a discount.

Concern about canceled memberships and a subsequent decline in revenue led to the change, as well as a recommendation from the golf course superintendent.

In April, the council voted to increase monthly membership fees from $61.67 to $80, reflecting an increase of $18.30. The vote included giving city residents a 10 percent fee discount.

The decision Monday includes a 10 percent increase for all members, which sets monthly fees at $67.80.

Jody Dean, golf course director, told the council that the April increase resulted in 20 members saying they'd cancel their membership.

"It's such a drastic rate increase of going up as much as proposed to start with that, I think, it would greatly hinder the golf course in making any kind of revenue," Dean said. "If anything, we would lose ... revenues.

"I think a 10 percent is very compatible that, I think, everybody can live with."

Dean asked the council to delay increasing golf cart fees, until newer carts are leased in 2018.

Councilman Bill Broadaway made the motion to increase fees by 10 percent and golf cart fees by $1. The rates will go into effect at the start of the fiscal 2017-18 budget, on July 1.

Councilman Gene Aycock said he supports the increase decision but is leaning toward eventually trying to close the golf course.

During its 18 years in operation as a city-owned property, the golf course on South Slocumb Street has failed to turn a profit.

City finance records during the past several years show that the course has operated at a loss as high as $312,884 in 2013 fiscal year to $112,790 in 2016. The revenue loss has been supported by the city's general fund.

"Next year, I may propose to close the thing," Aycock said. "It's just too big of a cost."

The council voted 6-1 in favor of the increase, with Councilman Bevan Foster voting in opposition.

Also during the budget work session, the council decided to set aside $270,247 proposed for the purchase of new equipment, including mowers and trucks, for the multisport complex.

Mayor Chuck Allen asked the city parks and recreation director to create a city mower plan to better utilize the city's equipment for all its facilities. A decision on whether to purchase the equipment would take place at a later date, following a more detailed evaluation.

"You don't need all this equipment for the sports complex," Allen said. "You already have it. You have more mowers than you're using efficiently."

Also at the meeting, Councilman Antonio Williams asked the council to increase the budget allocation of $15,000 to $90,000 for the summer youth employment program.

Scott Stevens, city manager, said the budget could be amended at a later date if the council decides to increase funding to the program.

"If we add $75,000 to the budget, we've got to take it from somewhere else," Stevens said.

City officials decided this year to start the program at its current level, in an effort to evaluate its success with an eye for future growth. No decision was made to increase funding for the program.

The city's fiscal 2017-18 budget of $59.3 million holds the line on property taxes and most fees but includes a new $4.50 monthly stormwater fee for all developed property in the city.