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Augusta commission OKs Patch management deal

Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 3:16 PM
Last updated Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 2:07 AM
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Augusta commissioners gave the go-ahead Thursday to lease Augusta Municipal Golf Course to a Virginia Beach, Va., golf management company at the year’s final called meeting.

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Denise Bargeron putts on the ninth green while playing the Augusta Municipal Golf Course with her husband, Matt. The Augusta Commission voted Thursday to lease the course to Virginia Beach Golf Management.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Denise Bargeron putts on the ninth green while playing the Augusta Municipal Golf Course with her husband, Matt. The Augusta Commission voted Thursday to lease the course to Virginia Beach Golf Management.

The course has been under city management since September, after previous lessee The Patch in Augusta stopped paying rent and subsequent negotiations with an Augusta firm failed.

The vote to lease the course to Virginia Beach Golf Management passed 6-2, with commissioners Bill Lockett and Alvin Mason opposed.

“This really just does not rise to the level of being down here for a special called meeting,” said Mason, who wanted to wait until the new year. A Dec. 18 vote on the same lease failed, 5-3.

Virginia Beach Golf Manage­ment’s proposal, recommended by Deputy Administrator Bill Shanahan, is to lease the course for $250,000 over 10 years. The city gets an additional 5 percent if revenues exceed $650,000 and 7 percent if they exceed $700,000.

The firm includes three PGA professionals with a combined 100 years of golf course management experience, according to Shanahan. One of the pros is Andrew Menk, an Augusta native.

Lockett, who headed an ad hoc committee three years ago to chart the future of the course, known by locals as The Patch, said he was still waiting on a cost-benefit analysis to show the lease was a better option than having city recreation staff operate it.

“It should have been pretty simple, looking at our past four years’ budgets,” said Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle, who voted in favor. The course operated in the red by about $200,000 annually the three years before the city’s 2011 decision to outsource it.

Commissioner Grady Smith, who was absent Dec. 18, returned Thursday to vote in favor. As a longtime member of the board that governs nearby Forest Hills Golf Course, Smith said he had been skeptical of hiring outsiders to run Forest Hills but later changed his mind when the course started to thrive.

That’s not happening now at The Patch, Smith said, noting the condition of its greens.

Under the lease, which will likely require final commission approval, Virginia Beach will be responsible for capital improvements under $5,000, according to Shanahan. Anything more than $5,000 is the city’s responsibility, with commission approval, he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles, a longtime advocate for outsourcing certain city services, said he asked Mayor Deke Copenhaver to call the meeting to avoid the decision being gridlocked when four incoming commissioners take office in January.

Bowles said a former commissioner returning to office was known to deliberately abstain to prevent the mayor from casting a tie-breaking vote. The only returning commissioner is Marion Williams, recently elected to represent Super District 9.

“I’ve seen the theatrics play out before,” Bowles said, which “protect certain things that they think are more important than allowing the mayor to cast a vote.”

Mason took issue with Bowles’ comments.

“The assumption is there are going to be others that will be in cahoots,” he said. “That’s not going to be the case.”

For years, Augusta voters elected five white and five black commissioners, which often resulted in gridlock falling along color lines, with strategic abstentions to prevent the mayor from taking a side.

That changed during the three-year term of Matt Aitken, but Aitken’s defeat Dec. 4 restores five black commissioners to the body.

Comments (15) Add comment
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Jake
32770
Points
Jake 12/27/12 - 04:26 pm
6
2
Good

I am glad they snuck this one in. Now the Patch will have at least some direction and hopefully in the right direction.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/27/12 - 05:07 pm
3
1
Its amazing,

again not a LOCAL solution to a very local problem.

WHY?

404Law
226
Points
404Law 12/27/12 - 05:30 pm
5
0
Clarification, maybe?

This is simply the tee shot, correct? (i.e., voting to enter a lease agreement with the City). Now, Russell and the gang of six minus 1 must hit their second shot to a pin fronted by water and anchored by sand (i.e., bringing the negotiated contract before the new commission). Not an easy shot. They will likely walk away with a bogey 1 before this hole is finished. (i.e., the process to approve the negotiated contract with the new commissioners will be quite difficult).

On another note, it will be interesting to see who Russell will caddie for on the new commission now that Bowles' term has ended. I wouldn't be surprised if he decided to walk back to the club house.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/27/12 - 05:37 pm
4
0
Not their 1st take over either - seem to have a good background

Owners
Steve Geller, Mike Fentress and Andrew Menk

The local tie in
“I’m a native of Augusta, Ga.,” Andrew Menk said. “It’s a place where they know a little something about golf.”

He is also with, A J M GOLF MANAGEMENT, INC.

Question? anybody want to fill in the missing pieces.

SEE:

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:iG01epoCwOQJ:www.vbgov.com/go...

http://hamptonroads.com/2011/02/new-managers-virginia-beach-golf-courses...

http://hamptonroads.com/2011/01/private-company-run-va-beachs-3-struggli...

for greater details.

SON of Scoob
434
Points
SON of Scoob 12/28/12 - 08:30 am
5
1
The No Boys

"Bill Lockett and Alvin Mason opposed." And soon to be joined by Marion Williams. Racial grid lock will get worse in the Garden City.

While traveling extensively around the country, I was always proud to say I was born and raised in Augusta, GA., the Garden City / Golf Capital of the South, but not anymore.

I am now sad Augusta is going in the same direction of other minority managed cities, but glad I now live in Columbia County.

Jake
32770
Points
Jake 12/27/12 - 09:31 pm
2
0
@OpenCurtain.....

.....nice links, seem to know what they are doing. I like the Andrew Menk link to the Patch. The Menk family has been a part of Augusta for a long time and knows about the history of the Patch.

Of course 404Law is calling his own game, and at this point, why the hell not? The Patch needs steady and reliable management. If you play extra then you should be charged accordingly.

Riverman1
84972
Points
Riverman1 12/27/12 - 10:14 pm
5
1
Under the new Commission,

Under the new Commission, what if necessary capital improvements are not funded?

bdouglas
5167
Points
bdouglas 12/27/12 - 10:54 pm
2
0
OpenCurtain... So was the

OpenCurtain...
So was the first post about it not being a "local solution" before you researched or what? Because your second post seems to contradict that...?

Riverman poses a good question. Improvements still have to be approved by this new commission with a leaning towards racial politics.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/28/12 - 07:25 am
4
0
bdouglas - I stand by both comments.

As a Richmond County Resident and Taxpayer, I would always rather see LOCAL businesses get the work. Seeing the $$$ stay in CSRA grows the CSRA. Watching the $$$$ profits end up in a VA is a negative point to me.

With that said, the group has a track record of getting it done.
IF AN WHEN the local Government works with them on funding commonly done Capital Improvements.

Also, "E-Verify" should be one question asked before final approval.

JRC2024
9085
Points
JRC2024 12/28/12 - 08:54 am
2
1
open, use e verify and you

open, use e verify and you probably will not get enough people to do the work with the ever increasing number of people on food stamps, welfare checks, unemployement for extended weeks, and disability entitlements. Why not just close the patch and sell the land. Then those that want to play join a privately run club that is not taxpayer funded.

Little Lamb
46422
Points
Little Lamb 12/28/12 - 12:06 pm
0
4
Two-Faced

Commissioners Alvin Mason and Bill Lockett have shown here that they cannot be trusted. They claim they are opposed to the current deal in order to pander to their constituents. But their actions show that they really are in favor of the deal.

If they were sincere in what they told their constituents, they would have stopped this vote by staying away from the meeting. Rev. Hatney and Corey Johnson stayed away from the meeting. If Mason and Lockett had joined them, there would have been no quorum; thus no business could have been conducted yesterday.

Mason's and Lockett's duplicity brings shame upon their heads.

jwilliams
893
Points
jwilliams 12/28/12 - 10:59 pm
0
0
Lockett and Mason

Hello Little Lamb, Mr. Lockett and Mr. Mason did not contribute to the quorum. It was formed by Bowles, Jackson, Brigham, Gilfoyle, Aitken, Smith, and Deke. Yes Deke, although Deke cannot vote, he can contribute to the formation of a quorum. They were hoping that none of the other commissioners would come to the meeting, which would give them a majority vote to add anything that they wanted to add to the agenda and have a unanimously vote to approve it; but thanks to Mr. Lockett and Mr. Mason for showing up to stop those plans. So you see Little Lamb Mr. Lockett and Mr. Mason truly did a “GREAT” job in reference to their constituents by stopping the “Reign of Terror” that has lasted throughout the 6 /4 era. Good riddance to Bowles, Brigham, and Aitken, and I hope that the MAJORITY of Augusta Richmond County will join me in making sure that none of these men will be elected to anything ever again, especially not mayor. And oh by the way, the “Patch” is still not a done deal.

puppydog
227
Points
puppydog 12/29/12 - 08:51 am
0
0
Commissioners need to attend the meetings

Little lamb , we did not vote these commissioners into office to stay away from the meetings. Those kind of shenanigans were played in the past, to the detriment of the city. I can't believe you would actually suggest that. There is enough gridlock with this commission as it is. Everyone who was voted into office needs to show up ,& let the chips fall where they may- majority rules- that's how government In a democracy works. No more games with not showing up for meetings to prevent a forum & prevent the taxpayers work from getting done!

puppydog
227
Points
puppydog 12/29/12 - 09:56 am
0
0
Open Curtain... Thanks for the info

Thanks for your informative article links, Open Curtain. Sounds like the Augusta commissioners made a wise choice for a change, even though it was just by the skin of their teeth.

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