WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
GOLF OPERATIONS COMMITTEE MEETING
Date: October 13, 2012
Place: Wilmette Golf Club
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Commissioners: Crowley, Olvany, Shelly, Brault
Staff: Bowen, Eppelheimer, Locke, Matchen, Wilson
Visitors: Tom Bonnie, Tom Grisamore, Tim Terchek
Topics of Discussion
1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes:
a) September 8, 2012
3) Recognition of Visitors
4) Communication and Correspondence
5) Proposed Fiscal Year 2013 Golf Budget
6) Managers Reports
7) Old Business
8) New Business
1) The meeting was called to order at 8:30 am.
2) The Committee approved the minutes of the September 8, 2012 Committee meeting by General Consent.
3) Under Recognition of Visitors: None
4) Communication and Correspondence: None
5) Proposed Fiscal Year 2013 Golf Budget: Superintendent Bowen reported 2012 was a good year at the course and one of the best ever experienced. As a result, staff is anticipating a $105,000 surplus in 2012. Greens fees were a large part of that non-resident play and golf car usage and driving range were also up. It is believed that the changes made by staff and the controls put in with the new ball machine helped to increase driving range revenue. In budgeting for Fiscal Year 2013 – which includes the closure of the course in July – staff completed a full-year budget as if we were going to be open and stripped out some of the revenue. Staff also took out operational revenue from August through September for greens fees, pull carts and operations and reduced pro shop revenue by 50% in August through December. We also reduced driving range revenue by 20% during that same time period. Labor costs and operations from part-time personnel were stripped out as well.
The pro shop and driving range will still be open during the project so our full-time staff and key part-time supervisors will stay which would then be our only labor expense in operations. There will also still be maintenance staff on hand to maintain those areas of the course that are not under construction. This crew will also be used to supplement the construction work as well. In a normal year, staff budgets for a 34-week, part-time maintenance schedule and we are actually adding an extra $14,000 to help with some additional tree removal since it would be less costly for us to do it. Expenses will be down in some areas with a few agricultural products and chemicals and staff has added an additional $3,000 for seed to help supplement the repairs after construction.
The bottom line is that staff is anticipating revenue to be down in operations by about 44% and down 38% overall. Expenses are budgeted to be down about 4% and for comparative purposes we left the transfers in that were the same from administration and capital which would result in our being down $584,590. Superintendent Bowen added that with the transfers being taken out of the $448,000 for administration and capital, we would end up with a negative $136,000.
Director Wilson stated Commissioner Murdock is asking that this committee take a look at the transfers since we lowered them coming into this year compared to the historical numbers which we never reached. His response to Commissioner Murdock was that given the fact the project will be impacting both 2013 and 2014 fiscal years that it has become a whole different question regarding transfers at this point. Also, we should really revisit that in 2015.
Commissioner Brault stated he had details of what we took out of the budget related to fees. Member fees for next year were raised 2.5% and with 50% of that revenue in this budget for Fiscal Year 2013. Also, 50% of this revenue will be in 2014 because of the two-year membership. When looking at the fee sheet, the cost of a Resident Gold membership currently is $1,250 for unlimited play but will now be going up to $1,310.
Superintendent Bowen replied that was the proposed recommended increase and the only fee being reduced is the annual locker cost which is currently $110. It was lowered since we haven’t seen any growth in that area and even a slight reduction. As a result, staff is recommending $75 in an attempt to receive additional overall revenue.
He also stated that there has been some discussion about private lessons which are currently at $55 per half-hour. The 2.5% increase would bring that up to $56.50. Staff felt that this would be an odd number and with the construction next year we might want to hold that at $55 to bring in more people.
Commissioner Brault stated this year was an almost perfect weather year and asked what percentage of available times was used in the various slots. Superintendent Bowen replied it is somewhat difficult when looking through our history because it all depends on the weather. This year was the perfect year but when talking about those fringe times they are usually pretty busy as long as you have good weather. Since we budgeted on a three-year average, between 2009 and 2011, that was a more normal situation compared to 2012 which was not normal. Commissioner Brault stated that it seems with the data we now have we could isolate the times that do not get taken and then send out “half-off” coupons in order to use up those fringe times. Superintendent Bowen agreed staff could do that.
Commissioner Shelly asked how much of a percentage is in these recommended fees that staff is projecting will go toward the $2 million. Superintendent Bowen stated the project is not factored in this budget. The discussions have been about a surcharge in the future which would be in the 2014 budget.
After additional discussion, the FY 2013 Golf Budget was approved. Commissioner Brault added that this budget is $30,000 lower than previously calculated so the course is right on target.
Director Wilson stated that Glenview’s golf course is also contemplating a similar project in 2014 and they would like to have a reciprocal agreement with us wherein our golfers would have a place to play in 2013 and 2014 and then their golfers would be welcome at our when they commence their project. Glenview had also indicated they would like to talk to our architects. Winnetka was also interested.
6) Under Managers Reports, Jamie Locke reported it was the perfect weather year with not one full day being closed. The total number of rounds is close to our three-year average. Staff is starting to let the seasonal employees go for the winter but we are still hoping to get some nice weather. However, activity on the course in October has been slow so far but September was a very busy month. Overall it was a pretty good year, pro shop sales were up, and the driving range was spectacular. The new controls implemented this year have also helped. Commissioner Crowley added that during this year we also received more accurate readings than in prior years.
Manager Mike Matchen reported that other than removing leaves, the crew is also doing sod work in the fairways, cutting out and patching. He then presented a series of slides indicating that work is being done on #11 and #13 as well as #1, #3 and #4. He also stated that the greens were aerified on Tuesday. The golf course is now closed. The plugs were pushed to the edges of the green with help from the Parks Department staff. A sweeper was used clean everything up. Our blower is new this year and another one is budgeted for next year. These blowers have a remote control installed on them which has been very helpful. This process used to require three people to handle but now we can do it with just one person.
Mr. Bonnie asked what the schedule was for taking down the trees. Mike Matchen stated they would be taken down during the winter with extra staff from the golf course and the parks department.
7) Under Old Business, Commissioner Brault stated in regard to the Golf Master Plan, the Committee has been talking about the 25% to be incorporated into the overall cost of the project. Committee Chair Crowley stated he was not aware we were going to do that but he is okay with it. Director Wilson explained the Financial Planning Committee had been talking about it but then decided to send this back to the Golf Committee.
Commissioner Brault stated he just wants to make sure that the 25% was in the budget and Chair Crowley stated he thought we were right on target but he is not sure about doing it in as an aggregate in plan #2.
Commissioner Brault added this question should be brought to the membership and Chair Crowley stated we should have some variations on that theme for the Golf Users meeting on Saturday, December 8, since there will be no Golf Committee meeting in November.
8) New Business: None
9) There being no additional business, the Committee meeting was adjourned at 8:58 am.
Minutes taken by J. Bowen.
MINUTES APPROVED ON DECEMBER 8, 2012.