Parks & Rec in the black; lease on golf couse remains a concern for officials

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The financial status for Warren County Parks and Recreation Commission is improving, according to the latest outlook, but the future of Clear Creek Golf Course remains uncertain.

Dale McDuff, parks and recreation District 1 board member, and others from the parks and recreation department met Monday with the Warren County Board of Supervisors to discuss the current financial status of parks and rec, as well as the county-owned public golf course.

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Total deposits, including county contributions, totaled $159,445.94 through November, while total expenses were $146,916.04, meaning the ending cash for parks and recs stands at $15,626.74.

“It looks like you have enough in the bank to make payroll,” John Smith, the county administrator, told the parks and rec members in attendance for a work session.

For the year, the county has appropriated $361,000 to parks and recreation, while parks and rec has contributed $121,671.07.

Beginning Jan. 1, the county will take over the payroll responsibilities of parks and recreation.

On the flip side, officials are still concerned regarding the 16th section land lease where the golf course is located. The lease is due in March and Smith recently informed the supervisors an appraisal has been completed on the property.

“The law calls for five percent of the appraised value, so we’re looking at a $68,000 and some change lease under the present conditions, unless the state legislature intervenes and changes it for public entities that are using public property,” Smith said during last week’s board meeting. According to Smith, the current lease is right around $8,000.

State Sen. Briggs Hopson said there might be some other options. He has been in discussion with the Secretary of State’s office.

“Don’t hit the alarm button yet,” Hopson told the supervisors last week. “I think there’s a general consensus between the school board and this board that would like to work towards a solution that is reasonable. Let’s just wait and see what kind of information we get to make this work.”

Hopson told the board he hopes to have that information by January.

Clear Creek, located at Exit 11 near Bovina on I-20, is one of only two county-owned golf courses in Mississippi. The 18-hole course opened in 1977.

Asked during Monday’s meeting if the supervisors planned to close the golf course, board president Richard George said the supervisors are “determined to do the best we possibly can” to prevent the public golf course from closing.

“This lease has virtually got a strangle hold on you right now,” George said. “This thing has got to be resolved. This is the major issue that has got to be settled.”