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Council decides not to oursource functions at Coral Oaks

By Staff | Sep 26, 2011

Cape Coral City Council decided to abandon plans that would have outsourced some, or all, functions of the Coral Oaks Golf Course but will likely look to increase fees in the future.

Increasing fees – which could include greens, driving range, cart fees or others – will hopefully offset some of the golf course’s debt and make the city additional funds.

Mayor John Sullivan suggested charging an additional $3 in greens fees per round.

Sullivan said there are far too many people in the city hurting financially to continue to pay for the golf course.

“I don’t think people fully understand some of the problems our residents are having. We can’t continue to have the city subsidize the course,” the mayor said.

Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pohlman said the added $3 greens fees per round would earn the city $100,000 – $140,000 a year.

Pohlman added 61,500 rounds of golf are played at Coral Oaks per year, although a few of those rounds were unpaid because of youth programs.

Councilmember Bill Deile felt the flat fee $3 per round is a good idea, but there might be other ways to adjust fees to make money other than simply focusing on the charges per round.

“Rather than a broad brush approach, I’d like to fine tune it,” Deile said.

Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said he is planning to work with city staff and the Golf Course Advisory Board on adjusting the various fees, where applicable.

Chulakes-Leetz universally praised the maintenance staff at Coral Oaks, but hopes the course’s management staff can come up with additional ways to make and save money for the city. The councilman also suggested that maintenance staff have better protection while working on the course.

“That course is not in great condition because of management. It’s in great condition because of the maintenance people,” he said.

Mary Anne Drahos, who organizes the youth programs at the golf course, said she was pleased with council’s decision to keep it all in house. She also said it was too early to know if increased fees would affect those youth programs.

“They (the city) may want us to pay an increased contribution,” Drahos said.

While the course is not making the city money, it was argued that it was never meant to, but instead be part of the quality of life that attracts people to Cape Coral in the first place.

“It was never set up to be a cash cow for Cape Coral. It was set up as an amenity and what I’ve been hearing is it’s done that job very well,” Councilmember Kevin McGrail said.