by Dan McClelland
The lease between the town and the country club board of directors was extended last week for another seven years.
Aside from the time extension little was changed in the new contract.
“As you know they've had some financial troubles in recent years,” Supervisor Patti Littlefield told board members Mike Dechene and Traci Luton, the only two present that evening. “Right now, however, there's a lot of energy and excitement on the golf course board and they are all in!”
In recent years the club leaders haven't been able to make their $30,000 lease payment on the town bond that financed the renovation of the upper nine, nearly two decades ago. Instead, Mrs. Littlefield noted, they have been paying $10,000 per year on the debt.
There is about $70,000 remaining on the note.
The idea now is to have seven more years to pay $10,000 a year to satisfy the debt.
“At the end of seven years the entire debt owed to the taxpayers of Tupper Lake will be paid,” Mrs. Littlefield explained.
“It's exactly the same lease that they had, just changing the dates.”
The current lease was due to expire in 2020. The new lease will expire October 15, 2026.
Councilman Mike Dechene said the move has precedence here, when the payments were lowered from $50,000 per year to $30,000 and the lease extended a number of years ago.
The supervisor said as a town-facility, the town board is anxious to see it flourish.
At a recent meeting attended by her, Mr. Dechene and the golf course leaders it was agreed that the town would try to “partner” more with the golf course, as to the purchase of new equipment on state contract, available through the town.
The supervisor said she had recently met with Rob Foster, the equipment steward at Craig Wood golf course, who is associated with MTE-Jacobsen, a company that makes golf course equipment.
“He gave me a big spreadsheet that we want to share with the golf course board.”
“They need a fairway mower and a sidehill mower, which comes with many attachments.
Mr. Dechene said it's called a Ventrac machine which comes which comes with dual wheels on both ends. Its designed to not dig up the terrain and can be used for mowing near the greens and tees, as well as the fairways.
“It's got great stability on the sides of hills.”
The utility vehicle also comes with unique mowing decks, which can mow on both sides of a hump at the same time, he noted.
He said one of the recommendations of last summer's Friends of the Golf Course study committee was that the town should use its ability to buy on state contract to cut the prices of new golf course purchases.
“We're not going to purchase the equipment, but by purchasing their equipment through the town they can do it at state contract prices.”
That represents a big savings, he added.
He noted that previous golf course boards use to to take advantage of that town benefit, but recent boards haven't.
“It was the committee's No. 1 recommendation!”