The Hidden Valley Golf Course Working Group has a tall order to fill over the next four months.
Delaware City Council discussed about the course’s deficit in terms of expenditures versus revenues over the past few years. In 2014, the year’s end fund balance was $92,021 compared with an estimated $65,100 this year. In the proposed 2017 budget, the golf course is projected to have a fund balance of $38,786.
“We’ve been talking about the declining fund balance situation there for at least three years,” said Councilwoman Lisa Keller, 2nd Ward, during a budget work session on Dec. 3.
“We’re at the decision point, in my opinion,” she said.
Council members and city staff brought up several options to address the issue during the work session such as privatization of the course, converting the area into park land, increasing rates and eliminating memberships.
More than 10,000 rounds of golf were played this year compared with more than 12,100 rounds played in 2012. The year 2014 had the lowest amount of rounds played at 9,321. The city is estimated to pay $1.16 per round this year compared with $0.70 in 2015 and $1.41 in 2014.
“At some point it needs to sustain itself,” said Councilman George Hellinger.
The working group will meet today to discuss the creation of a strategic plan for sustainability, to focus on the challenges such as increasing revenues and marketing. The plan is scheduled for presentation to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Council by late February with completion set at March 1.
“No pressure at all,” said Ted Miller, Delaware’s parks and natural resources director.
Additionally, city officials will meet next week with Verizon offficals to potentially place a cell tower at the golf course. The tower would fill a gap in coverage for Verizon’s customers of that vicinity and provide a revenue stream for the course.
Miller said cell towers can be considered a “visual eyesore” but people in general have become accustomed to them over the past decade. But the potential revenues could offset deficits of the course, he added.
The working group will meet at the golf course, 580 W. William St., 7 p.m. in the club house.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.