Parks & Rec asks for another $45,000

Published 6:16 pm Monday, September 25, 2017

Warren County Parks and Recreation Commission chairman Dale McDuff says changes will be coming to Clear Creek Golf Course to hopefully bring in more revenue, but a $41,000 increase in health insurance cost for eight fulltime employees that wasn’t budgeted has wiped out the $45,000 he received from the Board of Supervisors last month to pay their bills. McDuff requested an additional $45,000 from the board during their Monday work session to help pay their September bills.

District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon asked McDuff if there could be a cap on how much money parks and recreation could request, “rather than nickel and dime us every month.”

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McDuff told the board that the commission is attempting to attract younger golfers to play the course, as well as host more tournaments and make cuts, including slashing the overtime of maintenance employees in half. He said it’s difficult to determine how much money will come in each month because weather has also played a factor this summer in low player turnout.

“We can either try and make it work, or just let it go,” McDuff said. “Do what we can or just close. I’m asking for the $45,000 and start fresh on Oct. 1. Without the $45,000, I’m not sure we can make it.”

Some changes McDuff and the commission will implement at Clear Creek Golf Course include:

• Increase green fees by $2

• Increase cart fees by $2

• Increase the check-in fee by $1

• Increase all membership levels by $25

The decision to increase the fees to help with financial shortfalls was held during a commission meeting Sept. 19.

McDuff expects the increase in fees to bring in approximately $75,000 over the next fiscal year.

Kent Smith, the resident professional at Clear Creek Golf Course, told the board last month the course charges a green fee of $34 for 18 holes, and $39 on weekends. He said the county’s green fees are more than some courses in the surrounding area charge.

The number of people playing golf, he said, is down across the country, because younger golfers “don’t have the time,” to play a lot. He said revenue at the course has dropped from $521,000 in 2012 to $412,000 in 2016.

“That’s with rate increases,” he said. “It’s a pattern. Every time we raise fees, we have a drop in revenue. People are going to go where it’s cheaper. My fear is if we raise fees any more, it’s going to have a reverse effect. We are peaked out in fees.”

The supervisors will vote on these and other matters during their regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 2 at 9 a.m. in the Warren County Courthouse.