City rolls forward with golf cart lease

Marina Riker By Marina Riker

Nov. 21, 2017 at 9:30 p.m.
Updated Nov. 22, 2017 at 11:07 a.m.

Lion's Club Pavilion in Riverside Park was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.

Lion's Club Pavilion in Riverside Park was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.   ADVOCATE FILE PHOTO for The Victoria Advocate

The city plans to lease golf carts for $4,300 each month for five years despite pushback from some council members who worried about the length of the commitment.

The City Council voted 3-2 to allow the city manager to sign a lease for 50 golf carts, which would cost about $258,000 over five years.

The council also voted to allow the city to enter into a lease-to-buy program for mowing equipment, which would cost $7,800 each month.

This comes after the city recently decided against hiring a contractor to run the Riverside Golf Course, choosing instead to operate the course itself.

"We're either going to do this course or we're not," said Mayor Paul Polasek, who voted in favor of the proposals.

Councilmembers Tom Halepaska and Jan Scott joined Polasek in voting in favor of allowing the city to lease the carts.

City staff said the golf carts are needed to reopen the course in January as planned.

The carts the city wants to lease have efficient batteries and need less maintenance than other types of carts - but are slightly more expensive, the city staff said.

Councilmembers Dr. Andrew Young and Josephine Soliz, however, voted against the golf cart lease, voicing concerns about signing a five-year deal.

Currently, the city has limited data to show exactly how many rounds of golf are played or whether the golf course's revenue will cover the costs.

Before voting against the plan, Soliz asked whether the city could back out of the lease without big penalties, and if it could be shortened to two years.

"Give yourself the two years to work it out instead of the five years," said Soliz.

Councilman Ricky De La Garza wasn't at the meeting.

Meanwhile, Councilman Jeff Bauknight abstained from voting, saying he first wanted to see a business plan detailing how the city plans to run the course.

"It takes a lot to run a golf course," said Bauknight. "And I want to open this golf course, but I want to make sure we have a solid plan going forward."

At a recent meeting, city staff said they intended to present a business plan in early December.

But Tuesday, City Manager Charmelle Garrett said staff were still working on it.

"There's no way we can get it wrapped up in two weeks," said Garrett.



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