City approves funds to cover $2.7 million golf course deficit

Washington City Offices, Washington City, Utah, June 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY – In a short meeting Wednesday, the Washington City Council made some last-minute amendments to it’s 2014-15 city budget. The amended budget reflects the approval for the transfer of funds to help cover a $2.7 million debt attached to the Green Springs Golf course.

In a unanimous vote, the City Council voted to transfer $1 million from the city’s sewer fund toward covering the deficit accumulated by the city since the golf course was built in 1987. The remaining $1.7 million will come from the city’s general fund.

Money taken from the sewer fund is being done in the form of a 10-year loan to be paid back with a fixed interest rate of 2.4 percent.

Previously, the city had been allowed to cover shortfalls from the golf course with loans from other funds; in this case the sewer fund. However, with a change in accounting and reporting requirements handed down by the Utah Legislature, this is no longer the case. This led to the city needing to address negative balances and cash flows, as well as take public input on the matter.

A public hearing was held May 27 in which a handful of resident said they didn’t want money they paid into the sewer fund to go to the golf course.

The matter was discussed in more detail in the council’s June 10 meeting where the council consider taking the full $2.7 million from the sewer fund, or just a portion and using the general fund to cover the rest.

“I struggle with a transfer from the sewer fund,” Councilman Thad Seegmiller said during the June 10 meeting. “I don’t support a full transfer.”

In the end, the council voted in a 4-0 vote to take $1 million from the sewer fund. The sewer fund ran a surplus of $5.1 million prior to the vote.

The council also unanimously approved to move coverage of the costs of operation for the golf course and Washington City Community Center from the city’s enterprise funds to the general fund. This will make it easier for the city to cover the costs of the facilities moving forward.

The transfer of funds and additional expenses incurred by covering the golf course brings the overall 2014-15 budget from an estimated $62 million to $57 million by the fiscal year’s end, Services Manager Kimberly Ruesch told the council.

“There’s quite a consolidation,” she said.

The 2014-15 budget year ends July 1.

Other business

The city council approved the amendment of a city ordinance allowing for mobile food trucks to operate in the city. City Manager Roger Carter said the request to allow the mobile venders in the city came from venders and citizens alike.

After reviewing the ordinance and discussing the matter with preexisting restaurants that didn’t have any objections, the city adjusted the ordinance accordingly; primarily allowing for a food truck in industrial and commercial areas.

“We wanted to be fair and equitable to those brick and mortar businesses in our community,” Carter said. “None of them feel it’s a competitive challenge to them.”

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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2 Comments

  • fun bag June 25, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Gov’t bailout for rich old white men’s golfing game. Yup, totally makes sense…

  • old school June 25, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    The only one’s who want to keep that place open are the crooked politicians that set the whole thing up in the first place. There should be an investigation, the whole thing weaks of greed and corruption, it would be interesting to find out who made money building the place, whos getting paid now and any counsel are financially liked or receive credit or discounts for playing there.

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