The Goldsboro City Council approved the purchase of 50 golf carts for the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course Monday despite one councilman suggesting that it may be time to look at shutting the course down.
In June, Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard requested that the council obtain 58 golf carts for the course, which would allow the course to meet the industry standard of having 75 percent of its carts in use on the average day.
Barnard also suggested that the carts be leased, not purchased, as being on a lease would ease the logistical burden on his department.
Barnard said that the monthly cost of each cart would come out to around $71 per cart during a 60-month time period.
During the council's work session Monday, Councilman David Ham suggested that the course could likely get by with around 30 carts on an average day. Barnard said that not having enough carts would remove the course from tournament consideration altogether. The course hosts between 30 and 50 tournaments each year, Barnard said.
Councilman Bevan Foster took issue with the entire conversation. He said that he was not comfortable spending money on the golf course, while it continues to lose money for the city.
"We're losing a lot of money," Foster said. "I have a big concern. Technically, I think that we've lost so much money over the years that we're at a point where we should be considering do we do anything except for shut it down?"
According to city financial records, the golf course operated at a $312,884 loss during the 2012-13 fiscal year, a $201,789 loss in 2013-14, a $155,900 loss in 2014-15 and a $112,790 loss in 2015-16. The losses have been covered through the city's general fund.
In 2016-17, the cost decreased to about $85,000, said City Manager Scott Stevens, but then increased to $205,000 in the most recent budget.
"That is partially because of a $50,000 workman's (compensation) claim," Stevens said. "Someone was injured on the golf course. I do not expect to have that cost in coming years, unless someone gets injured. That happens very rarely."
Foster said the money spent keeping the golf course running could be better spent elsewhere.
"In the three years I've been on this council, we've lost almost half a million dollars," he said. "That half a million dollars could really help the community somewhere else."
Mayor Chuck Allen suggested that if the city were to buy the carts instead of leasing them, it could then sell the carts to make up some of the cost when the carts get old or if the course were to ever be shut down.
Allen made a motion that the city purchase 50 carts, instead of the 58 initially requested. The motion passed 5-2, with Allen, Ham and Councilmen Bill Broadaway, Mark Stevens and Gene Aycock voting in favor. Foster and Councilman Antonio Williams voted against the motion.
In other business, the council also:
Approved a rezoning request on the east side of Patetown Road between North William Street and Stoney Creek. The change from residential to industrial will allow the Wayne County Development Alliance to begin work on an industrial park at the site.Approved two conditional-use permits for properties on the south side of U.S. 70, between U.S. 117 and the Little River, for used car lots.Awarded an $8.3 million contract to T.A. Loving Co. for the Phase IV Sewer Rehabilitation project.Appointed Elba Gutierrez to the Goldsboro Tourism Council.