City hikes golf fees to cover expenses
Golfers are forking over a little more green this year to chip onto the greens at Grand Junction’s two municipal golf courses.
The City Council on Monday night formally approved an across-the-board 8 percent hike in the cost to play a round at Lincoln Park and Tiara Rado golf courses, one of the few changes to the fees charged for the city’s parks and recreation programs and services.
The city typically increases green fees 4 percent annually, but Parks and Recreation Director Rob Schoeber said more money is needed to meet operational costs and account for oil and copper prices that escalated last fall. PVC pipe, fertilizer, pesticides and fuel are oil-based products the city uses at its golf courses, while copper is used in the irrigation systems.
Oil prices have fallen drastically in the past couple months, yet Schoeber said the fee increase was proposed last October when the price of a barrel exceeded $100. He also noted the golf courses operate as a break-even proposition, making it important for the city to recover the costs of operating them.
“Certainly, if at the end of this year we appear to have a higher ratio of revenue to expenses, we could look at that again and there’s a chance we could go the other way with (fees)” and decrease them, he said.
Revenue at Lincoln Park and Tiara Rado has increased each of the past three years, from $1.96 million in 2006 to $2.22 million in 2008. Expenditures, meanwhile, have declined from $2.69 million in 2006 to $2.15 million in 2008.
While the cost to play golf has gone up, the cost to rent a tennis court at Lincoln Park will drop significantly, from $15.50 per court, per hour to $5 per court, per hour.
City officials acknowledged the cost was higher than similarly sized cities and deterred players and private instructors from following the rules of reserving the courts in advance.
The city also will institute a half-price fee for nonprofit organizations to rent the Lincoln Park Barn, the loop at the west end of the park and the practice field.
Schoeber said the change will bring consistency to a process that has no standards. Many nonprofits receive free use, while others are required to submit a letter to the department.
All nonprofits now will have to submit proof of nonprofit status to receive the half-price rate. School District 51, Mesa State College and other governmental agencies will be included in the category of users who receive the half-price rate.