WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
GOLF OPERATIONS COMMITTEE MEETING
Date: October 16, 2013
Place: Wilmette Golf Club
Time: 5:30 pm
Commissioners: Chair James Brault, Bryan Abbott, Amy Wolfe
Staff: Wilson, Bowen, Matchen, Locke
Visitors: Bill Lemieux, Tina Lemieux
Topics of Discussion
1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes
a) September 14, 2013
3) Recognition of Visitors
4) Communications and Correspondence
5) Managers Reports
6) Capital Improvement Projects Review
7) Old Business
8) New Business
1) The meeting was called to order at 5:30 pm.
2) The minutes from the September 14, 2013 Committee meeting were approved by general consent.
3) Recognition of Visitors: None
4) Communications and Correspondence: None
5) Under Manager’s Reports, Mike Matchen reported the golf course hosted the Chicagoland Superintendents meeting last week Tuesday and there were 24 superintendents in attendance. The superintendents toured the course and were impressed by the project.
Jamie Locke reported that since the change in the weather, we’re seeing fewer people on the course and the season is winding down.
Chair Brault asked if it was too early to think about a course opening event for next season and Mike replied that staff has began those discussions. Director Wilson added the course is expected to open around Memorial Day if all goes well. Superintendent Bowen stated golf staff will work with the marketing department in terms of promoting the course. Chair Brault added that this is a marketing opportunity that we have never had before and we should make it “as big a splash as we can”. Additional discussion followed on offering special deals or incentives to bring in the golfers.
Manager Mike Matchen reported the contractors finished seeding on Tuesday. The golf course has over 17,000 feet of new drainage pipe, rebuilt 14 greens, re-grassed five others, created 51 new traps, expanded three lakes, created ten new tee complexes, built the bio-swale, seeded the course and did it all in 67 working days. The remaining items to be done are punch list items. A tour will be conducted in November with golf architect Greg Martin and the crew, Wadsworth, and himself to create a punch list of items that will need to be finished up in the spring. Mike added that Wadsworth will be responsible for any washouts in the next 30 days.
Chair Brault stated that in the 2014 budget there is an additional expenditure for the project that was not on the capital plan. Director Wilson responded that the architect estimated the expenses that would be paid out in 2013 and 2014 during the budget process last year. The work has progressed and all but a 10% retainage will be paid out in 2013 and the expense will be reduced on the capital plan for next year.
6) Proposed FY 2014 Budgets:
Superintendent Bowen stated that there was a typo in the 2013 projection. Program fees are listed as a negative $45,000 but it should be a positive $45,000 which brings the total revenue to $779,991.
He further explained that in the budgeting process for 2013, staff prepared the budget as if the course would not have been closed. He said that he then removed the revenue and some expense from the months that the course would be closed. In preparing the budget for 2014, he stated that those months removed in 2013 were added back in and the months that we are planning to be closed in 2014 were removed. The budget was prepared with those increases specified by the Financial Planning committee. Chair Brault stated that we are basically targeting a 75% occupancy comparison to what we have done in the past. The budget is for 30,000 rounds vs. the target of 40,000.
Chair Brault stated the driver of that is the fee rounds vs. the unlimited rounds which is a fixed number. If the weather is either not so good or a little cooler or hotter, those fee paid rounds may not come out. He added that it will be interesting to see if the surcharge has any affect on unlimited members coming to play less than 18 holes, which could allow for more fee paid rounds to be booked.
Golfer Tina Lemieux stated she thinks the budget is a little conservative since she believes the course will draw in more business. Superintendent Bowen stated he agreed with Ms. Lemieux and stated for budgeting purposes, he based revenue on historical date. Ms. Lemieux added that she thinks staff will be pleasantly surprised and is also in agreement with staying with conservative numbers.
Commissioner Abbott asked about the surcharge. Superintendent Bowen replied that is a new section within the budget which lists the surcharge revenue. Director Wilson added that next year the debt service totals $63,288. Chair Brault stated that if we are budgeting for 30,000 rounds, the surcharge revenue should be $90,000 and not just the expense of the debt service.
After some discussion, it was agreed to have the revenue shown as $90,000 and the expense as $63,288.
Commissioner Wolfe asked about the accessible golf car which is in the capital plan for several years out. Superintendent Bowen replied we currently have a useable handicap accessible cart and this expense is for a newly designed version.
Commissioner Brault stated that there are some items on the capital plan that directly benefit the licensee of the restaurant and asked if these expenses could be shared with the licensee. Superintendent Bowen stated that there were no provisions in the license agreement, but we could always discuss that with Open Kitchens.
Superintendent Bowen reviewed the proposed and recommended fees. He stated that fees were calculated with increases except for member greens fees. Director Wilson stated that staff did think about raising member fees but felt since the memberships were sold for two years and for the incremental difference was approximately $3,800 it was not worth the potential controversy it might cause with some members.
Commissioner Wolfe asked if we had any comparisons with other courses and asked how our greens fees compare with other courses. Mike replied we’re actually very close to Sportmans Park and Winnetka who were both higher than us for their top times. Director Wilson stated Deerfield is also higher but they do discount a lot of the time. Our daily fee rates when walking on a weekday or weekend were slightly lower than Winnetka and Deerfield although Glenview was actually a bit higher than us on the daily rate. Chair Brault stated that our course is a premium product.
Superintendent Bowen suggested that with the opening of the course, it may be wise to increase the marketing budget. After discussion, Chair Brault stated the marketing budget should go up to $3,500.
Commissioner Abbott asked about salaries and wages alongside the expenses. Superintendent Bowen explained we increased that amount because of anticipated maintenance during the first of the year. Commissioner Abbott also asked about the 19.4% increase in health care expense comparing 2012 and 2014. After some discussion, it became apparent that the increase was compounded over two years which was correct.
After additional discussion, the Committee unanimously approved the FY 2014 Golf Course Budget and recommended it be presented to the full Board for approval.
7) Under Old Business: None
8) Under New Business: None
There being no further discussion, the meeting was adjourned at 8:28 pm.
MINUTES APPROVED ON FEBRUARY 8, 2014.