Mayor Brian Wyndham began the meeting by summarizing where the golf course stands for those in attendance
"They're financially strapped at this point; they've done some restructuring. Our golf board has worked on this for some time ... to try to make the golf course more financially solvent, and I think that is the goal in mind," Wyndham said.
"At the end of last year, the golf course had some shortcomings financially, and they are still in that position at this point," he said. "They came to a council meeting, requesting a loan from the city, in order to operate and cover some costs they were incurring, and that was granted.
"To be right up front with everybody, I think there was some confusion, and I was sitting out there (in the audience) at that time, and I thought that what was happening was the loan was to cover some cost and things that go on until spring when they open up and start turning some money, and that wasn't the case. Really, that money took care of (all the) 2011 costs, like bills that needed to be paid and things of that nature."
Wyndham opened the floor up to members of the golf board who were in attendance to explain what changes have and will be made to make the golf course more financially sound.
The golf board members explained it made cuts in staffing from a four-person structure to a three-person structure. The new structure will allow one person to look after the whole golf course, a maintenance assistant and a clubhouse assistant.
The golf board said the eliminated position turned out to be golf professional Mark Rogers, who was let go, but had the opportunity to apply for the superintendent position and declined.
The golf board said the eliminated position is a step in the right direction to where it needs to be moving forward in 2012.
The board said it will also be taking over the concession stands, pro shop and tournaments, which were handled by Rogers, to bring in revenue for the board.
Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen offered her insight for the big picture.
"At the end of the day, their debt is our debt (because the golf course is owned by the city)," McQueen said.
After hearing some of the golf board's structural changes, the city council gave their opinions and asked questions.
Councilman Dustin Jorgenson said providing a loan without a strict plan for payback was a gamble.
"It's gambling with taxpayer money," Jorgenson said. "If we don't support the golf course, it will go under, and that's a shame. We can't do that ... but to just gamble with tax payer money isn't an ideal thing for us to do either."
Councilman Sam Glover was in agreement with Jorgenson and offered a possible solution.
"I understand the things that we've said are very true, like their debt really is our debt because we own them, but my biggest concern is our lack of accountability," Glover said. "I don't mind loaning the money, but I would go as far to say there be an item on the agenda every month that somebody from the golf course is here telling us where you are and where we are in getting our money back ... I will not vote in favor of this if we don't have some accountability."
The next step the council had to take was to determine the final amount and stipulations of the loan, such as where it will come from.
The council made the motion to provide the golf course with $30,000 as needed, from the Rainy Day Fund.
City Attorney Traci Lawson will have to execute an interfund transfer, and a resolution must be written up and passed at a later date, before the loan can be completed.
The date the council will finalize the loan has not yet been decided, but it will alert the public within the required amount of time before the special meeting will take place.