City hears Prairie View 2010 budgetCouncil still awaits results of study on golf course efficiencies WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council continued its month-long budget discussion Wednesday, hearing from representatives of Prairie View Golf Links and the public works department.
By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe
Council still awaits results of study on golf course efficiencies
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council continued its month-long budget discussion Wednesday, hearing from representatives of Prairie View Golf Links and the public works department.
Council members are still waiting on the results of a study, approved at a March meeting, that will analyze Prairie View, Worthington Country Club and other area golfing alternatives in terms of revenues, expenses and operations. That should tell them a lot about how Prairie View could operate more efficiently.
The course’s projected expenditures for 2010 are about $393,000, up about $2,000 from last year. Revenues are expected to be down this year, based on 2009 revenue.
Course manager Alice Hoffman reported that revenues from the daily and annual green fees had been reduced for next year, and Mayor Alan Oberloh questioned whether the city might charge different rates to those who don’t pay Worthington taxes.
“If we’re subsidizing (the course), why are we subsidizing it for people who aren’t paying taxes?” He asked.
Hoffman responded that other communities have done just the opposite, lowering fees for non-residents to bring in outside business.
The total public works budget has decreased from about $1.158 million in 2009 to a projected $1.008 million for 2010. The department will see reductions from its 2009 budget in the areas of spring clean-up, nuisance code enforcement, park operations, Sailboard Beach improvements and supply and equipment costs and will also reduce its use or reserved balances by about $180,000. There will be budget increases in the areas of street operations, golf course greens maintenance, and increased revenue is expected from the general tax levy and other state grants. A number of other projects, such as replacement of playground equipment in city parks and lighting of Centennial Recreation Trail, were suggested but haven’t yet been budgeted for or discussed by the council.
According to numbers supplied by Director of Public Works Jim Laffrenzen, he was able to realize an expenditure reduction of nearly $16,000 by reducing the number of part-time employees, though he defended his use of part-time workers.
“We’re always evaluating our use of part-timers,” he said “If our maintenance facilities were under one roof, that’s the only way we could make it more efficient.”
Though he called part-time employees a great asset, he said finding enough applicants with proper training has been difficult.
Council members also questioned whether the closure of the city pool would result in cost savings. It most likely won’t, Laffrenzen said, because the property will still need to be maintained. The councilmen also asked about potential costs to aerate the lake to reduce algae and mosquito-control methods.
Discussion of the budget continues at 6:30 a.m. today at city hall.