The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 6, 2011

Neosho council closes nine holes of golf course

Loan payments for upgrades to course put city in financial bind

By Josh Letner
Globe Staff Writer

NEOSHO, Mo. — The Neosho City Council on Tuesday night cited financial woes and voted to close nine of the 27 holes at the municipal golf course.

Following a lively discussion at the June 21 meeting, the council revisited the contentious subject of what to do with the 27-hole course. According to figures provided in June, the city would be forced to dip into its general fund to make loan payments for improvements to the course that were financed in the late 1990s.

During the June meeting, council members discussed several options for the course’s future — including closing the course altogether. But much of the discussion centered around closing the nine holes known as The Lakes.

Course administrator Justin Beck presented the council with figures detailing the estimated cost of maintaining The Lakes. The cost — including labor, chemicals, fertilizer, electricity, equipment and maintenance — totaled $42,800.

After hearing Beck’s estimate, Councilman Steve Hart made a motion to close The Lakes, and to sell the turf and greens to help generate revenue. Beck told the council that the four irrigation controllers on The Lakes are worth more than $4,000 each and could be used to replace damaged controllers elsewhere on the course.

“Everybody’s made sacrifices in this city, from our police and our fire departments to our youth programs,” Hart said. “We’ve cut every budget in the city. When you can’t increase revenue, you have to decrease expenses. So this is a logical way to cut a big expense and hopefully make our other 18 holes better.”

In other golf-related business, the council voted to accept an $8,000 donation from the Men’s Golf Association to help with improvements to the course’s irrigation system.

The council also voted on a recommendation by the Neosho Airport Industrial Development Board to set the rental fees for 16 recently constructed hangars at the airport. The board compared rates at surrounding airports and settled on the sum of $175 per month for each hangar space. Mayor Richard Davidson said the surplus money left over after the hangars’ construction would be dedicated to repayment of the city’s loan from the Missouri Department of Transportation.

“If you ask yourself what is the supply and demand of the situation, there is definitely a limited supply and a large demand, so think we will fill those hangars,” he said.

Property sale

THE NEOSHO COUNCIL on Tuesday approved the sale of surplus Police Department property, including firearms and the animal control truck.