The staff that helped the late Alan Thomas run the Manteca Golf Course play and driving ranges will be in place through at least June 30 while municipal staff works on a game plan with several options for the City Council to consider for future operations.
Those long term options include:
ucontracting with a new golf course professional.
ucontracting with a golf course management company that would put a head golf pro in place.
uother possible options municipal staff hasn’t identified.
Mayor Steve DeBrum offered during Tuesday’s meeting that it was his opinion the city should contract directly with a new golf pro as they did with Thomas.
“That’s just my opinion,” DeBrum emphasized
Councilman Gary Singh wanted other options explored including the city taking over the pro shop and running it with staff that would be on the municipal payroll. He noted that the city does all of the maintenance and upkeep of the course using municipal staff.
Thomas — who had been the contracted head golf pro for 40 years — notified the city on Jan. 5 that he would be resigning as of March 31, 2017 due to health reasons. Before that could happen, Thomas passed away on Feb. 7.
To assure a seamless transition, staff transferred the existing contract to Thomas’ wife, Marjorie Thomas, with an expiration date of March 31, 2017. That will allow the staff that worked with Thomas to remain in place to serve the golfing public.
Parks & Recreation Director Kevin Fant on Tuesday secured council approval for an amendment that extends the contract to June 30, 2017. That would allow more time for Thomas’ wife to wind down the business and for the city to determine its next move.
Staff has contracted with Gene Krekorian of Pro Forma Advisors to fashion an updated “independent review and assessment” of the golf course operations. Krekorian performed a similar study last decade. Fant said the information the consultant comes up with will help the city make future decisions regarding the long-term course operations. The study will cost the city $13,470.
The staff is also having conversations with PGA Employment Consultants, golf course management companies, and nearby golf course managers to help determine the best management options for the pro shop.
No comment on
how moving forward
would tie into plans
to address money issues
The council on Tuesday made no comments on whether they would proceed with a replacement for Thomas independent of other considerations.
In 2014 the City Council wrote off $1,412,425 the golf course operations owed for general fund loans to balance shortfalls in the golf budget. The loans date back to the 1990s. City staff characterized the loans as a bookkeeping issue since they never have shown up as an account receivable for the general fund. In other words, the city never counted on the golf course ever repaying the money.
The last general fund loan of $140,000 was made seven years ago.
Adding to the debt at times was a cost recovery charge from other departments that invested resources such as paid employee time and overhead into helping keep the golf, course up and running. Such charges included general city administration. Those charges were suspended on July 1, 2007. The council continued the practice of suspending the charge often referred to as “a cost recovery charge” placed on enterprise accounts to keep the general fund whole.
While state law prevents enterprise funds such as sewer, water, garbage and golf from subsidizing other city operations the flip is not true. However the city’s stated policy for enterprise funds is that they stand financially on their own through the payment of user fees. In this case it would be round fees played by golfers. The suspension of the cost recovery fee means the general fund is subsidizing the golf course.
Cost recovery charges are still in effect for the city’s three other enterprise accounts — sewer, water, and solid waste.
The general fund is still making a $155,000 payment to the golf, course each year to offset the cost of free and reduced youth and senior play.
Seven years ago the final $175,000 annual payment was made on a lease-purchase arrangement to build the golf course clubhouse in the early 1990s.
Manteca took out a 25-year loan in 1978 to convert the old wastewater treatment plant to expand the golf course to 18 holes and build the tennis courts along Union Road. The last payment was made in 2013 to free the golf course of a $52,000 a year obligation for its share of the project. The payment for the tennis court portion was covered by other sources.
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