(October 1, 2004) -- LB's Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine has announced new fees -- and a new three tiered rate structure -- for LB's five publicly owned golf courses.
The fee increases -- the first change in city golf fees in over two years -- and the new pricing structure take effect on October 15.
LB's municipal courses will have a standard non-resident rate, with a resident discount 30% below the standard rate. A memo from Parks, Rec. & Marine Director Phil Hester, obtained by LBReport.com and posted in full on a link below, says the 30% discount for residents "is more in line with the historic benefits resident golfers have grown accustomed to over the years."
Fees at Heartwell, Recreation 9 and Recreation 18 Golf Courses will increase by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of approximately 5.4%.
El Dorado Golf Course green fees will be 25% higher ($7 more) than Recreation 18...and the base fees at Skylinks will be the hightest, the "Platinum" level of the three tiers, priced 25% higher ($7 more) than the El Dorado course.
A surcharge is also implemented at Sklylinks to generate funds for the Golf Capital Improvement Fund that were used to finance bonds that paid for a $6 million renovation and upgrade at Skylinks. "This surcharge could be eliminated after a number of years, when the fund builds up enough to cover the cost of anticipated capital improvement projects, in addition to covering the annual Skylinks bond payments," Mr. Hester's memo says. The surcharge is $2 for 18 holes and $1.00 for 9 holes at Skylinks. [As previously reported by LBReport.com, if management's revenue projections for the new Skylinks course fall short, the General Fund could be responsible for the bond payments.]
Other CPI fee adjustments are a $1 increase in cart fees and a $5 increase for annual photo/discount reservation cards.
LBReport.com has posted details of the new fees and pricing structure in pdf form. To view these details, click New LB Golf Fees & Pricing Structure.
LBReport.com has also posted the city management memo from Parks, Rec. & Marine Director Phil Hester to City Manager Jerry Miller (cc'd to Councilmembers and the Mayor), detailing staff's reasoning behind the new fees and rate structure. It also responds to recommendations by the Golf Commission. To view this memo, click Sept. 27/04 City Mgt. Memo re Golf Fees.
The fee increases and rate structure did not sit well with the chair of the LB Golf Commission's Fee Committee, Bob Peeters. "LB's fees are still too high. I don't think it's fair to residents. These are public golf courses, and city staff justified its new fees by comparing fees charged at private golf courses," Commissioner Peeters told LBReport.com.
LB's Golf Commission is an advisory body. City Councilmembers have the power, if they wish, to override the fees city management has set...but they'd effectively have to reopen the budget to do so and make cuts elsewhere, or find new revenue, to make up the difference. (Otherwise, they'd worsen LB's double-digit deficit (spending exceeding revenue) that management and Councilmembers are trying to address as part of a three year financial strategy.)
As part of the FY 05 budget (approved by the Council in September 04), city management indicated it expects revenue from golf fee increases citywide to make up roughly $400,000 in reduction of the long-term Council-created deficit.
"They're asking golfers to pay down the debt of the city and that's not fair," Commissioner Peeters said. He said he was conferring with other LB golf consumers about how to respond to LB's new golf fees and pricing structure.
The new Skylinks course is scheduled for a gala opening with a special charity event on October 29 (higher charity prices will apply). Regular operations at Skylinks are scheduled to begin on October 30.