Lemoore Golf Course: To sell or not to sell, that is the question facing Lemoore council

The City of Lemoore, in what it says is an effort to diffuse ongoing rumors and theories about a possible sale of the city’s municipal golf course, has decided to come clean about the rumors, and according to Parks and Recreation Director Joe Simonson, there is nothing to report.

Simonson, in a staff report entitled “Concept of Selling the Lemoore Golf Course,” states to date there has not been an offer from any party, including the Tachi Yokut Tribe, which has expressed an interest in purchasing the course.

The report is a response to Mayor Billy Siegel’s request that a “pro and con” discussion be brought to the council regarding the concept of selling the golf course.

 Parks and Recreation Director Joe Simonson’s Staff Report

 According to the report, to be delivered as a discussion item during Tuesday night’s Lemoore City Council study session, Simonson responds to what he calls rumors about the course. “There is currently nothing to announce or discuss,” stated Simonson’s report. “A representative from the Tachi Yokut Tribe approached the city manager inquiring about the golf course. A well-publicized round of golf was played by staff members and a representative from the Tribe, and to date no formal offer has been made. Unfortunately in the absence of facts, many rumors and theories have surfaced that are simply not true.”

 The Leader has reported on the issue and reported weeks ago that Lemoore Interim City Manager confirmed that no offer has been made and that he also okayed the round of golf enjoyed by a Tachi representative, Siegel, Simonson and a city employee. The Leader also contacted several council members who indicated there was no offer and did not believe there would in fact be such a sale.

 In his report to the council, Simonson reviewed the city’s recent decision to use $1.2 million of general fund money to reduce the obligation the city has in paying for the golf course. Based on the influx of general fund money, the golf course should be able to cover or nearly cover the $191,128 in yearly obligations that are scheduled to be paid off in 2020.

 In 2020 the obligation jumps to $300,000 per year and is scheduled to be paid off in June of 2027. The $300,000 per year would be returned to the city’s general fund.

 Simonson did in fact issue a list of pros and cons regarding the selling of the golf course:

 Why the City Should Consider Selling Lemoore Municipal Golf Course:

 1. The City is no longer on the hook for the financial obligation and there is an influx of cash in the general fund.

 2. Regardless of the economy or future golf course competition, the City of Lemoore is out of the business.

 3. Regardless of future capital improvement needs, the City of Lemoore would no longer be responsible for those. Examples are: well replacements, lost  greens, cart barn and club house maintenance

 Why the City Should Not Consider Selling Lemoore Municipal Golf Course:

 1. The loss of local control. The City would not decide on the management company, personnel or improvements made to the golf course. The Council would have no input in setting green fees and the City would lose control over the condition of one of the City’s largest assets.

 2. The City would give up the potential long-term income after the golf course debts are fully paid off in approximately June of 2027.

 3. What if the new owners were to fail and the golf course was in complete disrepair and an eyesore to the community, similar to the Selma golf course? Would the City be given the first opportunity to purchase it back and if so how much would it cost at that time to rejuvenate it?

 4. The possibility of losing our valued employees at the golf course.

 Other Items to be considered:

 1. Concern about special reduced rates that are currently available for seniors, children, students and the military.

 2. The golf course remains a golf course and is not allowed to become a housing track, shopping center, amusement park, etc.; and that the City put legal protections in place to insure that it remains a public golf course.

 3. The sale of the golf course must allow for job security of all current employees for at least one year.


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