An email circulating through the city is asking residents to voice objections to possible renegotiation of a contract for management of the city-owned Colonial Park Golf Course.
“We have heard that our city commissioners have been barraged by requests from the city's golf course operators and friends asking to renegotiate their contract that is less than a year old,” an email from firstname.lastname@example.org states. “The operators want the city to increase their profits by thousands of dollars each month. This contract met all the initial requests of the operators (sole bidder with no competition) so that the contract was accepted with extremely favorable terms to the operator.”
The email also notes that the course’s restaurant is in a position where it competes with private business, and that any renegotiation should separate golf course operation from the restaurant and its governmental liquor license.
City Manager Joe Thomas confirmed discussions have taken place about the golf course contract, a three-year deal with Real Golf Management LLC, run by Charlie Maciel, that runs through April 30, 2015.
“There’s never been a figure actually negotiated,” Thomas said. “He’s asking for a significant increase, and we’re asking for supporting documentation as to why it’s justified.”
Thomas said he wouldn’t give specifics, but confirmed the requested amount would be more than double the current contracted compensation.
The professional golf services agreement the city and Real Golf Management entered into last April included a $60,000 salary for Maciel, in addition to 90 percent of membership and greens fees, 100 percent of gift shop profits and driving range fees and 95 percent of cart rental fees. Additionally, Maciel was required to purchase restaurant equipment for $3,000 and rent course maintenance equipment for $250 per month, with the understanding he would own the equipment when the contract expires.
The RFP also covers management of the restaurant. The city pays water and garbage service and 25 percent of electric costs. Additionally, Real Golf receives 90 percent of the first $100,000 of restaurant profit, 80 percent of profits between $100,001 and $299,999 and 75 percent of profits of $300,000 or more.
The three-year contract does not include an annual renewal process, nor any clause allowing for termination by Real Golf due to increased compensation requests, and puts no responsibility on the city for operating losses incurred by Real Golf. A call placed Wednesday afternoon to Maciel was not immediately returned.
Clovis Mayor David Lansford said Wednesday he had not heard of the email, but customers at his pharmacy have made general comments about the course.
The 18-hole course was purchased in 2011 for $2.81 million as part of a parks and recreation plan that closed down the nine-hole municipal golf course and absorbed it into Hillcrest Park for other recreational activities.
Lansford, elected in 2012, doesn’t believe the course should be publicly owned and privately operated.
“My position has always been that owners take responsibility for what they own,’ Lansford said. “The city of Clovis owns the golf course, and although the golf course was a very expensive purchase (and) ... there’s much more maintenance to the make the course much more attractive ... owners take responsibility for their property. They don’t hire somebody else to take responsibility for it. They may hire somebody to manage, but they take responsibility for the work that’s being done.
“I’ve never been in favor of a contractor operating the golf course.”