City Council Approves $70,000 Budget Authority Increase for Golf Course Operations
By SHAUN FRIEDRICHSEN
After having a number of questions answered by Alliance City Manager Jeff Sprock, the Alliance City Council voted to increase the budget authority for the golf course by $70,000 to cover expenditures.
Council Member Annora Bentley introduced the resolution to the council, reading from the council narrative, which described the need for the increase.
“With the unanticipated departure of the golf professional, the city has had to take on additional responsibilities, which were not funded in the 2018-19 budget,” said Bentley. “Transferring funds from the City Council Contingency Fund to Golf Course Operations will provide the budget authority necessary to continue operations.”
Council Member Earl Jones said he wants to see a business plan developed for the golf course.
“With this kind of money, it runs as a business,” said Jones. “There needs to be a business plan, and not this ‘I want more money. I need more money.’ Somebody needs to sit down and figure out the numbers to give us something to go on, especially before the budget meeting, that says ‘this is what it costs to run the golf course. This is what anticipated revenue is.’ I can’t just throw money at this thing. There’s got to be somebody sitting down to make a plan.”
Mayor Mike Dafney said that if a golf professional is hired by the city, they will be able to develop a plan more easily.
“We’re flying by the seat of our pants right now trying to figure it out ourselves,” Dafney said. “I agree with (Jones) wholeheartedly. I think we need to get one too, but I guess what I’m saying is I’m not sure we’re going to get it right away with what’s happened this year.”
Sprock said a small portion of a business plan has already been developed to help guide the city through the rest of the season. He said they determined the $70,000 would help keep the golf course operations running smoothly. According to the council narrative, $31,400 is allocated for pro shop help, $2,600 is for FICA, $18,000 for other supplies, and $18,000 for equipment and support.
“What you have in front of you is what we expect,” said Sprock. “We do not expect to come back to you anymore on that. Even though we’re asking for $70,000 in increased budget authority, the expectation is that we’re not going to see a $70,000 hit, and that we’re going to reap revenues from some of these purchases. The purchases of supplies (…) will bring revenue back into the city that we haven’t experienced when a professional was in place.”
Bentley asked Sprock about pay for the previous golf pro, and an increase approved in February.
“Starting October first of 2018, the former pro was paid $3,568.54 monthly, including her bonus, and then in February, council approved her compensation to go up to $3,750 a month,” said Bentley. “Is that money still not there that we can use to pay these personnel costs?”
Sprock responded that there is only $10,000 left in the budget for the pro shop because the money for the bonus came out of the current fiscal year.
“So basically, when I specifically asked in February, ‘do we have the money to give her a raise?’, we did not technically have the money to give her a raise?” asked Bentley.
“I still feel like we had the funding through there, it’s just when the transaction happened,” Sprock responded. “It didn’t happen in the last fiscal year, the transaction didn’t.”
City of Alliance Finance Director Randy Waggener explained that it is something that will be adjusted at the end of the year in the budget.
“It’s the cash versus accrual basis,” Waggener said. “It probably was a bit of an increase over what we had budgeted.”