WILLCOX — City Manager Caleb Blaschke focused on the city’s budgeting for leisure services including the Twin Lakes Golf Course, the city pool and the Elsie S. Hogan Community Library during the city council meeting on May 6.
Blaschke kicked off his presentation by focusing on key statistics for the city only municipal golf course.
Twin Lakes Golf Course
According to Blaschke, Twin Lakes held four charity events during FY 2019-20 that generated the highest amount of revenues for the golf course: Brooks Brothers, Willcox Quarterback Club, Holes in Heaven and Shriner’s Hospitals for Children.
On average the revenue the golf course brings in per tournament is $2,265.00. Brooks Brothers provided $2,262.00, Willcox Quarterback Club $2,889.50, Holes in Heaven $3,668.00 and Shriner’s $2,795.00, for a total of
Each tournament averages 44 participants and 22 golf carts are needed. For Brooks Brothers, there were 76 participants and 38 carts were used, Willcox Quarterback Club’s and Holes in Heaven’s charity events each had 72 participants and 36 carts and Shriner’s charity event had 60 participants and 30 carts.
Despite those solid numbers, Twin Lakes is not without a list of issues and high cost. Its change in cost for golf carts from FY 2020/21 to 2021/22 is expected to be a capital expenditure of $100 to aid with replacing those carts that have been deemed to be “severely damaged” by wear and tear.
Meanwhile, possibly adding new electrical for the cart barn and repairing flood damage to the building are on the wish list of the golf course.
“We haven’t gotten quotes for that yet, but we need to get a quote for that. Our electrical is kind of paid out. There’s water in the barn. So it’s a safety hazard in the barn that we want to repair,” Blaschke added.
For FY 2020-21, $18,000 was spent on 6 used golf carts; $18,000 was spent on batteries for golf carts; $32,000 was spent on the greens mower that died and $8,000 was on other equipment and maintenance.
Twin Lakes staff has made the following recommendations to remedy the issues: Increase rates for golfing, require additional fees for large events, set capacity limits and purchase no more than 25 golf carts. If large events need more, contract with a company to deliver additional golf carts.
Cheri Metts, Twin Lakes Golf Course, was vocal in clarifying how the golf course isn’t getting compensated properly for all the extra labor their workers have to put in to help put on a charity event, as well as the greatest areas of concern the course has been facing.
“I think we could raise rates,” Metts said. “It wouldn’t have to be by that much. We have to have decent golf carts. We have some that I have to say, they’re awful.
“I would make a flat rate that includes everything, because we’re doing hard work and they’re not paying for it. We’re doing tournaments and we’re using our labor, but we’re not getting paid for it. If that makes sense. We’re only getting about $24 per golfer,” Metts added.
“If we lease those (golf carts) over a five-year period, those will have a warranty over the next five years,” Blaschke added.
For FY 2020/21, the golf course budget was $230,548 and brought in a revenue of $134,529 (during COVID). The total cost for the city to subsidize the golf course was $96,000.
For FY 2021/22 Blaschke projects that the golf courses budget will be $305,457 and will have revenue of $135,000. The cost for the city to subsidize the golf course for the future is projected to be $170,457.
The city pool
Blaschke broke down the city pool budget comparing 2020/21 to 2021/22.
For 2020/21 the city had a budget of $152,625.00 for its pool but only spent $87,188.00.
For FY 2021/22 Willcox projects a budget of $149,644.00.
As to $65,437.00, Blaschke cited the following: “No swim lessons, pool heater caught on fire (sometime in the past and has sought repairs since then), more efficient chemicals and changes in hours of operation.”
The City pool staff has suggested the following solutions to the ongoing problems that they have seen: Building a more efficient pool through the Arizona State Parks Grant, which costs $500,000-$700,000; create a pool reserve account in the Local Government Investment Pool; continue budgeting $150,000; roll savings into an account as payment toward the new pool and begin 2021 with a $63,000 budget.
This budgeting process will also “help pay off a $1.5 million loan,” according to Blaschke’s research regarding future repair/renovation cost of the pool.
“If we get the grant our hope is to build a spray park next to it and then close the pool down for a year,” Blaschke added.
Blaschke also mentioned that during a recent survey of local kids by the city the one item they wanted added to their pool is a new slide.
Elsie S. Hogan Community Library
The city’s budget for the library for 2021/22 is $186,345, an increase of $35,112 from the previous year.
The library has seen a $5,000 increase in health insurance coverage.
The library has two full-time employees, and a clerk who works part-time at Twin Lakes on the weekend and a library supervisor. The library would like to add a programming technician position.
The programming technician position would entail an individual supplementing Willcox Against Substance Abuse, expanding programs (workforce development, resume writing, English as a second language), applying for grants and coordinating with Willcox schools regarding open gym time. Jennifer Colby, former community programs manager, was in charge of developing a lot of the programs in the city while increasing community outreach.