Beavercreek Golf Club is running more than $200,000 behind the same period last year in part because of bad weather. The city owns the golf club.
The city will subsidize the course this year with $1,388,622 from the general fund, which pays for many of the city’s day-to-day operations. The around $1 million annual city subsidy covers bond payments. The course has seldom broke even since it opened in 1997 even with the bonds paid for by taxpayers.
The golf course update was part of council’s quarterly review on Monday. The report covered through the third quarter of the year.
According to a quarterly review, golf course revenues from greens fees and pro shop are down $184,433 and food and beverage is down $39,832.
“Because of the unusually cold and wet weather in April and May, the golf course trends below the 2012 revenue experienced last season,” said Bill Kucera, financial administrative services director. “Last year was an exceptional year as play started earlier and were fewer wet and cold days.”
Expenses through the first nine months also were higher than the same period last year, principally because of equipment maintenance costs and a $336,801 lease for new golf carts that began this year, Kucera said.
Council approved the report without comment. In previous review sessions, council members have said they are concerned about the golf course’s finances.
“It’s costing us a million dollars a year, and that turns my stomach,” council member Scott Hadley said this summer.
Golf courses were envisioned as economic development tools for cities in the 1980s and 1990s. In most cases, including Beavercreek, they were successful in promoting residential housing in and around the courses. Two decisions made by the council more than 15 years ago related to the golf course cost the city more than expected.
First, the council approved a 15-year contract with a golf management company. When the results were not as expected, it cost the city more than $1 million to get out of the long-term contract. The bonds to cover those cost will be retired in 2028.
When issuing bonds for the course construction in 1997, the council chose a type of bond that cannot be refinanced, something that would have helped years later when interest rates hit historic lows. Those bonds will be retired in 2023.
“We can’t refinance, and we can’t sell it (the course) for enough to get back our investment,” Vice Mayor Jerry Petrak has said.
The city currently owes a total of $9.7 million on the bonds.
Kucera said the rest of the city’s budget is hitting projections.
“Expenses and revenue are all in line for the first nine months of the year,” he said.