Letter: Municipal golf course is self-sustaining
When my husband and I were seeking a retirement "hometown," our requirements included a municipal golf course. We were delighted to find Antelope Hills. True to the mission of municipal courses, it features reasonable rates, easygoing dress codes, programs for seniors, beginners and children and events benefiting local charities.
Some mistakenly believe it costs the taxpayers money. It does not. Players fees' cover the course managers' salaries, maintenance and other expenses. Although the city built the South Course with bond money, players' fees have been paying off the bond with interest. It will be fully paid in 2010. The investment in the course was a good one. Last year visiting golfers spent 3,000 nights in Prescott hotels and bought thousands of meals in local restaurants.
Some say the City of Prescott shouldn't be managing a course or restaurant. In fact, it does not manage day-to-day operations. Professional managers with more than 30 years experience each do that. They report to the city manager. He has the authority to hire and fire them at will. Contrast that with the legal hassles and costs to settle with the last restaurant lessee.
There is lot of local control at Antelope Hills. Players have a strong voice through representatives on an advisory board. Plus, the course manager, Paul Parker, is very accessible.
Antelope Hills should not be given over to a profit-centered business just as it is about to retire its debt and come into a new era of financial wellbeing. Let the golfers continue to pay without a layer of profits imposed upon their fees. Let the players continue to have direct access to the management without adding a layer of out-of-town corporate bureaucrats. Let us continue to take pride in our hometown golf course.