By David F. Rooney
The Revelstoke Golf Club was bailed out of its current financial jam by City Council last week when it approved a motion to forgive all of the rent, accrued interest and taxes it owes local taxpayers.
That amounts to $43,231. But the club doesn’t get off the hook scot-free; its affairs will be overseen by a multilateral Task Force.
In a report to Council Finance Director Graham Inglis said the outstanding rent alone is about $35,858. Writing that off “would impact the City’s results for 2014.”
The City budgeted a general operating surplus for 2014 of $51,277,” he said. “A write off of the Club ‘s rent would reduce this budgeted surplus to $15,419. The City’s accumulated surplus at December 31, 2013 was $495,345. The write off amount of $35,858 is equivalent to a property tax increase of approximately 0.4 %”
“We may never get it back,” Councillor Connie Brothers said during Council’s public discussion of the proposal.
Councillor Gary Sulz said he didn’t want to “beat a dead horse” and noted that Council “cannot continue to write off” the golf club’s financial problems.
All of that prompted Council to call for the establishment of a Golf Course Task Force composed of include two members of the Golf Club Society board, one Councillor, a member of the Revelstoke Accommodation Association, and another from the Chamber of Commerce, CSRD Area B Director Loni Parker, and three members of the public. The Task Force will report back to Council on September 1.
“The goal of the plan would be to include options for funding that would remove the burden for fixing the Golf Clubhouse from the tax payer and utilize funding opportunities,” Dawn Levesque, the City’s Corporate Services Executive, said in a memo to Council last Tuesday, February 24.
Mayor Mark argued in favour of the proposal.
“It (the golf club) should be drawing tourists off the highway,” he said, adding that the club must start acting like a business.
He also said “we have a responsibility as a community to look after the club house — it’s our building.”
The clubhouse structure, which is all that remains of the race track that stood once stood there a century ago, needs major upgrades and renovations. Despite that history the club house is not a designated heritage property.
Councillor Aaron Orlando joined the mayor in favouring a write off while Councillor Trevor English called for continual updates about the club.
Please click here to read the motion and the report to Council by City Financial Director Graham Inglis.
Please click here to read the motion establishing the task force.