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Firm's pitch to manage Patch voted down

Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 9:27 PM
Last updated Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 5:49 PM
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Augusta Municipal Golf Course will remain under city management for now after a move to enter lease negotiations with a Virginia Beach, Va., golf management firm failed.

Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength (right) was presented a handmade trophy as a token of appreciation by the Retired Military Police Association during Tuesday's Augusta Commission meeting.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength (right) was presented a handmade trophy as a token of appreciation by the Retired Military Police Association during Tuesday's Augusta Commission meeting.

Recommended by Depu­ty Admin­is­trator Bill Shana­han, Vir­ginia Beach Golf Man­age­ment had offered to pay the city $250,000 in rent over 10 years to operate the course for the public, with Augusta to fund capital improvements of more than $5,000.

The firm’s principals, Mike Fentress, Eddie Luke and Augusta native Andrew Menk have a combined 66 years of experience as PGA professionals, according to Fentress, who said Monday they were prepared to get the course back in shape to serve the many who enjoy playing it.

A vote to move forward with the firm failed 5-3 at the final commission meeting of the year Tuesday, with commissioners Bill Lockett, Alvin Mason and Corey Johnson voting no. Commissioner Grady Smith was absent Tuesday.

The vote was the commission’s third attempt at outsourcing the course this year, after The Patch in Augusta LLC abandoned its lease and negotiations with an Augusta-based company failed. The course has been back under city management since September.

Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles, casting one of his final votes as a commissioner, said the move would have saved the city about $200,000 annually, rather than the average of $190,000 in annual losses it sustained under city management in the three prior years.

“Let’s look at those other entities that we’re funding that we don’t need to be funded,” Mason said. “I want to assure this body is looking at the big picture.”

Johnson and Mason said they would like to see the city improve the course first, using a sales-tax allocation, before seeking new management.

Also on Tuesday, the commission relieved concerns of a west Augusta patio home community by voting 8-1 to uphold a June decision against rezoning a tract to allow a 252-unit upscale apartment complex.

“I think it’s wonderful,” resident Jane Moss said.

The matter is hardly over, as property owner the L.P. Mays Family Partnership already has filed a lawsuit alleging the commission has no legal reason to deny the request given surrounding uses in the area off Augusta West Parkway.

The commission also approved a motion from Com­mis­sioner Joe Jackson to name the new sheriff’s administration building for retiring Sheriff Ronnie Strength.

Strength, who was honored during the meeting by a retired Army military police association, leaves office at the end of the year, and Lockett said only then should a building be given his name.

“I’m sure it will be 10 commissioners supporting this in January,” Lockett said.

The motion passed 6-1-1 with Lockett opposed, Bowles abstaining and Hatney absent when the vote was taken.

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bdouglas
5380
Points
bdouglas 12/18/12 - 10:48 pm
10
1
So they turned down a group

So they turned down a group willing to pay more than DOUBLE the rent that the previously approved (and failed) group offered, AND this group has a track record of success? Makes complete sense...

southern2
6624
Points
southern2 12/18/12 - 10:59 pm
4
0
Glad the commissioners

Glad the commissioners rejected another attempt to allow rezoning for the 252 unit apartment complex next to the Hillcreek SD. It should have been unanimous again. Wonder who the commissioner was that was against it before he was for it? I find it ironic that it was the LP Mays Family Partnership that got it zoned as Business and now are filing suit to have it changed to high dense residency.

F4therTime
4656
Points
F4therTime 12/18/12 - 11:15 pm
0
1
This is why....
Unpublished

Augusta will never be anything...ever. No matter what Countyman says...

Riverman1
86837
Points
Riverman1 12/19/12 - 12:26 am
5
0
This is the well connected,

This is the well connected, politically influential Mays family?

dichotomy
34343
Points
dichotomy 12/19/12 - 01:04 am
10
0
What is wrong with these

What is wrong with these ding dongs and approving the golf course deal? Do they just like to talk so they can hear themselves make noise? Best deal we've been offered and they turn it down.

Maybe I don't understand all I know about this but it looks to me like we are losing money and this deal would have stopped the bleeding with very little up front "repair" money.

So Mason mumbles "“Let’s look at those other entities that we’re funding that we don’t need to be funded, I want to assure this body is looking at the big picture.”

What the hell is he talking about and what does it have to do with THIS deal on the golf course?

Hey Alvin, you want to look at stuff we are funding that we don't need to be funding. How about perfectly new, within spec HVAC system replacements in the TEE, elevated crosswalks, mismanaged Municipal building rennovations, parking decks on land we don't own, leasing buildings and office space we don't need. Oh, but you want to make a big shot stand on the golf course. Big man. Where have you been on this other stuff?

Jason W
20
Points
Jason W 12/19/12 - 02:03 am
7
0
new invester

I think Cal Ripken should buy the course.

PghSteelersFan
140
Points
PghSteelersFan 12/19/12 - 03:28 am
3
1
Math way off.

The article says the group would pay the City, $250,000 in rent over ten years. My math tells me if one were to divide $250,000 by 120 months or ten years the answer is $2083.33 per month or $25,000 per year. Someone either forgot to add a zero or the deal was a 'real sweet heart'. IF someone was trying to get it through as a 'sweet heart deal', then the 'boyz' on Green St need to check the figures just a bit closer.
I guess that money is only for operations and any maintenance (grass cutting, buildings needing repair, air conditioners burning out, etc) would be handled by the City at an additional cost.
Either the article writer needs to add the zero(s) or some folks down on Green Street need to tell the public how such a deal could even be considered.
If the City is renting for $2000 and change a month for ten years then that is a really nice deal.

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 12/19/12 - 06:07 am
6
1
Richmond County
Unpublished

I have finally giving up on Richmond County government and the
so called commissioners that represent the tax payers. It seems that
this county is hellbent on screwing up every project that has government money involved. Why would you build a TEE center and
not finish it with a crosswalk, it only cost a few dollars to go first class,
which Richmond county has none. After someone is killed, then you'll
vote to put a crosswalk over to the building from the parking deck, but
then the price will be double what it can be built for now. Another great
decision is to stay in the golf business and keep losing money. My suggestion to taxpayers of Richmond county is to purchase your groceries, autos, appliances, and most of your purchases in Columbia county or aiken county and let these thriving counties collect the sales tax money to keep growing and being first class for its taxpayers.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/19/12 - 06:51 am
5
0
Time to cook or Patch this Albatross

Would one of the departing commissioners with nothing to gain or nothing to lose, chime in an fill in the reasoning for this?

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/19/12 - 06:12 am
9
0
Riddle me this

when was the last time that a 250+ unit apartment complex stayed Upscale? ---- Good decision here.

NOW start applying it on the South Side

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/19/12 - 06:17 am
5
0
Honoring Sheriff Strenght

Remember the names.
That either voted NO or duck the vote:

Lockett opposed,
Bowles abstaining,
and Hatney absent when the vote was taken.

cm51
145
Points
cm51 12/19/12 - 06:31 am
10
0
Russell's Raiders

I am not even getting into all of these issues, except to make one productive comment; I would like to see "someone" introduce legislation that could lead to LAW.............mandating that if you are absent from a commission meeting, that you lose your vote for ALL of the docket items presented at that meeting. A/RC commissioners play this card to the hilt, with taxpayers getting the "shaft" every time.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/19/12 - 06:50 am
1
0
OPEN SUGGESTION

Could the AC develop more descriptive Commissioner Meeting headlines?

Years from now and even today readers skimming the headlines for info would never serious thing to look at Commissioner votes on Rezoning issues or the Sheriff Naming issue ....under a "Firm's pitch to manage Patch voted down"

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 12/19/12 - 06:58 am
5
1
"I think Cal Ripken should

"I think Cal Ripken should buy the course." Good one. Maybe they could move it to the riverfront too.

cm51
145
Points
cm51 12/19/12 - 07:13 am
7
1
A/RC CHALLENGE

I am retired on Social Security Disability; SS will let me earn a maximum of $720.00 per month without affecting my SS. With a background in Project Management, I see the PATCH as a "money maker" for the city, if managed as a BUSINESS and not the commissioner's "perk" for their friends.................I would be willing to "manage" the PATCH for the city, if they would.....

1- commit to making repairs that are needed (with me as manager seeking out and approving the RFQ's for repairs, as I am in "nobody's pocket"). And provide funding for those repairs upfront so as to expedite the availability of the course to the public.

2- allow ALL monies that are taken in to be deposited in a SEPARATE bank account from the city general fund; this would be an "escrow" type account where the city could not pull and redirect money for other purposes or departments.

3- the city will allow me to post publicly EVERY month a statement of receipts and expenditures either through printed media or social media.

4- allow me as management to have final say on ALL decisions concerning the PATCH and its daily operation.

5- the city will furnish ALL employees @ 15% above minimum wage ($8.34 per hour), and provide them the city benefits package.

6- the city will accept and furnish funding for ALL overhead items, materials and maintenance. The city will benefit from ALL net profits on a quarterly basis. These funds will be paid to the city by way of certified funds from a local bank.

7- the city will compensate me as a 1099 employee for $720.00 per month.

8- If as of June 1, 2013, the PATCH is not showing a steady and increasing positive growth, the city may simply relieve me of my duties with a 30 day written notice.

I am an amateur golfer and NOT a PRO; but Project Management is Project Management..........the product that you manage is irrelevant. Either you control your assets or they control you !!!

I am serious about this challenge; I am retired and do not need a huge amount of money in order to live; but it is worth something to manage this process for the city, and the public DESERVES to have the PATCH continue on.

jmo
16667
Points
jmo 12/19/12 - 07:20 am
5
0
To cm51

Your proposal contains too much "common sense" to be considered by the A/RC Commission. lol

Riverman1
86837
Points
Riverman1 12/19/12 - 08:37 am
3
0
CM51

You have seriously thought this out. They should take you up on the proposal.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 12/19/12 - 08:38 am
2
3
Are the city parks, roads,

Are the city parks, roads, and sidewalks expected to turn a profit?

Riverman1
86837
Points
Riverman1 12/19/12 - 08:41 am
3
0
PghSteelers, run that by me

PghSteelers, run that by me again. Didn't you say the same thing they said? $250,000 over ten years???

Riverman1
86837
Points
Riverman1 12/19/12 - 08:43 am
3
1
Techfan, the sidewalks only

Techfan, the sidewalks and streets only turn a profit for the gangs. You pay to walk down their streets.

justthefacts
22680
Points
justthefacts 12/19/12 - 08:53 am
4
0
cm51

One question would be, have you done a breakeven analysis? How many rounds and at what price would it take to cover costs?

cm51
145
Points
cm51 12/19/12 - 08:56 am
5
0
I used to get "weekly"

I used to get "weekly" invites to go play at the PATCH by someone with the city, who ALWAYS told me............it's always free, you will never have to pay !!!!! I NEVER took them up on their offer, I went to Goshen, Applewood or Jackson and paid my "fair share".

Riverman1
86837
Points
Riverman1 12/19/12 - 09:16 am
3
2
JTF, don't be doing no cost

JTF, don't be doing no cost benefit analysis around here. That's a right wing, gun toting, racist scheme to get the rich more money. You know Obama won and elections have consequences. Open the course up to those who don't have health care insurance free of charge. Let the grass grow. Put some basketball courts out there.

bdouglas
5380
Points
bdouglas 12/19/12 - 09:18 am
3
0
@PghSteelersFan

I don't think you've been following the news on this very closely. The previous firm that just defaulted on their rent and got the boot had the sweetheart deal. The city approved only getting $1,000 per month in rent from those guys, and they stopped paying the rent for about 5 months; all the while letting its upkeep suffer as well. The former management was also asking for $300,000 in SPLOST money that was approved for the course a couple years ago or so. New group wants to DOUBLE that rent, hasn't asked for that $300K and only wants the city to pay for improvements that cost over $5K when needed. Who got the sweetheart deal again?

justthefacts
22680
Points
justthefacts 12/19/12 - 09:24 am
4
0
River

And everybody has to have the same handicap. It's only fair.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 12/19/12 - 09:36 am
3
0
Like sands through the

Like sands through the hourglass....

Pass the popcorn (munch)

chriscauldwell
17
Points
chriscauldwell 12/19/12 - 09:46 am
4
0
Our bright commissioners

Lets get this straight our bright commissioners just turned down $250,000 for 10 yrs so we could lose 2 million over a 10 year period at the expense of the taxpayers,Why would we even vote them in and keep them on our commission because they surely don't have the best interest of the city or it's citizens,They can't even run a small city let alone a golf course and to think the ones that voted it down want Paine College to run is a joke,Everyone knows the college already defaulted on one loan with the city so why would they even consider that unless there getting under the table kickbacks,I sure smell some bad fish in our commission and hope the citizens of Augusta wake and get these idiots out of our great city.As a military man on fixed income it sure would be nice to have a course that was affordable to play and in good shape and the firm from Virginia sounded like they had there ducks in a row but it looks like we loose as golfers again,Thanks commisioners for another brilliant decision and sticking it to the taxpayers,By the way were is the city going to get the $200,000 to operate the course from,I think we deserve some answers

justthefacts
22680
Points
justthefacts 12/19/12 - 10:12 am
1
0
Question

What is happening at the Patch now? Is being kept up at all? Any play?

Little Lamb
46891
Points
Little Lamb 12/19/12 - 10:27 am
4
0
Naming Rights

Last year the commission honored the memory of a former judge by christening the John H. Ruffin, Jr. Courthouse. Yesterday, the commission honored the soon-to-be former sheriff by christening the Ronald Strength Law Enforcement Center.

Riverman provided the street name for the courthouse: Ruff House

I'll suggest a street name for the L. E. center: Strong Box

:-)

noxiousfumes
468
Points
noxiousfumes 12/19/12 - 10:29 am
7
0
Let me get this straight. . . .

This commission had the opportunity to let Global Spectrum manage the TEE center and instead "looking at the big picture" allows a deal that most of them didn't even READ that is going to be a money pit for the city!!! Now they had the opportunity for a professional golf management firm to operate the patch at a profit for the city and THEY TURNED IT DOWN!!! These guys are dumb as rocks!! What are they smoking????

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