SHERIDAN — Sheridan’s city council is weighing the idea of increasing fees at the Kendrick Municipal Golf Course.
Council was scheduled to take action on the increases during its Feb. 4 regular meeting, but voted to table the resolution to make further adjustments to the cost increases. The body heard the matter again during a study session this week, and will take action on a resolution proposing increased fees at a future meeting.
City Public Works Director Lane Thompson said the golf course’s current fees have been in place since 2013, when they were raised 5 percent from the year earlier. Since that increase, Kendrick’s fees have fallen well below the regional average for municipal golf courses.
For instance, a seasonal pass for a single adult at Kendrick is currently $475, while the regional average for a seasonal pass for a single adult at a municipal golf course is $611.33, according to Thompson.
Typically, the city of Sheridan provides Kendrick Golf Course with a roughly $200,000 annual subsidy. The subsidy has exceeded that in some recent years due to one-time costs, such as paying off the lease on the course’s sprinkler system in 2015 and the installation of tee boxes in 2017.
While the increased fees would not eliminate the need for the city’s subsidies, Thompson said they would give the course more resources to improve and maintain it’s greens; he noted that city staff is currently working with the course’s golf pro to prepare an “aggressive” maintenance plan for the upcoming season.
“I think it’s a course we can be proud of, but it can definitely be better,” Thompson said.
Thompson is proposing increasing the cost of a season pass for a single adult from $475 to $500 in 2019 and $550 in 2020 and beyond; and a seasonal pass for couples from $740 currently to $775 in 2019 and $825 in 2020.
The fee increases would also apply to the course’s senior discount.
Kendrick Golf Course and the Meadow Brook Golf Course in Rapid City, South Dakota, are the only regional golf courses that offer a senior discount. Kendrick’s current senior discount is 20 percent, and Thompson’s proposal would have cut the senior discount to 15 percent.
Councilor Jacob Martin said he was against increasing the fees at a council study session Monday, arguing that the increases would make the course less accessible to local residents.
“I think it’s a good thing that we’re lower than the average,” Martin said. “…I’m just concerned that we’re going to turn people away.”
Councilor Aaron Linden said he believes their is a willingness to accept the cost increase among residents, as long as the additional costs go toward improving the course.
“I’ve had a lot of people come to me and say, ‘If (the course) was better quality, we would be willing to pony up,’” Linden said. “And that’s kind of a cart-horse thing because you have to have the revenue in order to [improve the quality].”
Thompson said the only reliable way the city can make improvements to the course is by increasing the revenue it pulls in.
“Our (city’s) income doesn’t grow or shrink a whole lot — it is what it is,” Thompson said.