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Lakeside taking cautious view of 2009 golf season

Lakeside Golf Club board members and officials are taking a financially conservative view of the 2009 season.

The Lakeside board, which governs the city-owned, 27 hole golf course facility north of Perham, is budgeting for a 3.5 percent reduction in revenues this year. The board is projecting basically a "break-even" year, based on the budget approved by the Perham City Council May 11.

The budget was set at $556,149 in golf course revenue--against a projected $561,248 in total expenses.

"Play is up so far this spring, with a comparison to even a worse spring in 2008.," said Lakeside and Mulligan's manager Nick Anderson, noting that in 2008, there was a major blizzard at the end of April--which impacted 2008 revenue substantially. "The budget for this year is flat, although I believe we should see a slight increase with good weather."

The golf course got a big boost May 9, as $19,685 collected or pledged at a member appreciation golf-dinner-dance event. Three large donars agreed to match member contributions--up to $20,000 each. The total to with the match is $78,740, reported Anderson. This includes sizeable donations from KLN, Tuffy's, ACS, and United Community Bank.

Additional donations will continue to be solicited, with a total goal of $90,000-plus.

Reporting on Lakeside's budget at the March Perham council meeting was board member Dean Bahls.

"We're keeping the overhead as low as we can," said Bahls of the projected expenses. On the revenue side, an "early bird" special--which sold an annual membership at last year's price as an incentive, generated more than $100,000 , according to Bahls.

The Lakeside budget was not ready for council approval, as the board is still negotiating with Mulligan's on its contract for the supper club and banquet operations. Under the existing structure, KLN Enterprises leases the clubhouse and dining operation from the Lakeside board.

The agreement between the golf course board and KLN is revised for 2009. This year, the board is paying a straight management fee, totalling $55,200.

Under the new arrangement, the golf course board sets green fees and provides oversight--but daily management will be left to Nick Anderson and his crew, according to Kelcey Klemm, city manager.