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City makes golf course assistance official

Lakeside Golf Course will be getting help from the city to get back in the black.

Following a lengthy discussion on the matter at a meeting in November, city councilors made things official on Monday, voting to approve a three-part plan to help turn the golf course's financials around.

The course has been struggling to break even for the last several years, facing a declining interest in the sport and high debt payments.

As part of the plan, the course will be raising its membership rates and green fees next year. City Manager Kelcey Klemm said the new rates were still comparable to neighboring courses.

For its part, the city will:

-Pay off a bank loan using $40,000 originally budgeted for a new well. The new well, if still deemed necessary, could become a fundraising effort for the club.

-Forgive remaining city assessments of about $90,000. The city would be able to make up the difference with some tax increment dollars, since the infrastructure was part of a large bond issue that included a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) housing development.

-Relieve Lakeside of a $180,000 loan that was used for the new clubhouse (Mulligan's). The club could make interest-only payments until 2016, at which time an equipment loan currently paid by the city expires. The city would then assume the remaining balance on the clubhouse loan.

Klemm said the plan allows Lakeside to restructure some of its debt without creating a hardship for the city.

The city's contribution will take care of about half the gold course's expected deficit in 2013. The other half will need to be made up through cost containments, hole sponsorships, fundraisers and other creative means.