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Wed, April 24

City raises rates at Antelope Hills

The Daily Courier/Matt Hinshaw<p>
Rich Dolan thinks about his shot on the 9th hole at the Antelope Hills Golf Course Tuesday afternoon in Prescott.

The Daily Courier/Matt Hinshaw<p> Rich Dolan thinks about his shot on the 9th hole at the Antelope Hills Golf Course Tuesday afternoon in Prescott.

PRESCOTT - By early May, local golfers will be paying about 8 percent more to play at the city's Antelope Hills Golf Course.

By unanimous action Tuesday, the Prescott City Council approved a golf-rate hike that will add $2-per-round to most of Antelope Hills' categories of play.

For instance, the council action will raise the amount a Yavapai County resident pays for 18 holes of golf during peak-season weekends from $30 to $32. And for the weekdays, the rate will go from $25 to $27.

The cost of golf carts also will increase - from the current $13 to $14.

The council first heard about the proposed rate changes at its April 1 study session, when city officials reported that the golf-rate hikes were necessary to cover the rising cost of doing business. Especially significant was the cost of gasoline, which had gone up by 81 percent since 2005, when the city last raised golf rates.

Since the study session discussion, city staff members proposed a number of adjustments to their original recommendations.

One of the changes involves the punch card - a city promotion that has long offered golfers a discount for pre-paying for 90 rounds of golf.

Originally, the city had proposed replacing the punch card with a $150 discount play card that would give golfers $5 off most rounds of golf.

This week, Administrative Services Director Mic Fenech told the council that after hearing a number of requests from golfers, he was proposing retaining the punch card.

Fenech later explained that, unlike the proposed discount card, the punch card applies to players in the purchasers' immediate family - a feature that many golfers wanted to retain. Therefore, Fenech told the council, "We're going to have both" the discount card and the punch card.

The council also supported an adjustment to the original proposal to give city staff the authority to raise rates for a round of golf by $1 per year in the future.

Local resident Bob Reuillard suggested that rather than allowing that increase to continue on indefinitely, the city should "sunset" it after five years.

"We don't want to have an open checkbook on the table," Reuillard said.

Council members agreed that halting the $1-per-

year rate increases after five years would give the city a chance to re-evaluate the golf course finances before determining if future rate increases would be necessary.

Another adjustment that occurred in the past week involved an increase of the senior discount rate from $18 to $22 for a round of golf and a cart after noon on Monday through Thursday.

Originally, officials had proposed raising that rate to $20, but ultimately decided to make the hours more flexible and raise the rate to $22.

In response to a question by Councilman Bob Bell about whether the rate hikes would allow the golf course to break even next year, Fenech pointed out that weather has a dramatic affect on the revenue at the golf course. But if the weather cooperates, he said, the golf course should be able to meet its expenses next year.

In recent years, the golf course has failed to cover its expenses, resulting in debt to the city's general fund.

With 48 different rates, Antelope Hills' increases will vary by category. Within the next several days, officials expect to have the new rates on the city's website, www.cityofprescott.net.

Contact the reporter at cbarks@prescottaz.com

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