Fees to increase at Indian Foothills Park

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Marshall Parks and Recreation Board addressed a long-tabled issue during its regular monthly meeting Wednesday evening, Oct. 4.

For several years, the board had discussed raising fees for various aspects of the park, but had only made increases to most aquatic center fees last year. The board decided it was finally time to make a decision to increase some of the rates at the park, as fees had not been increased since 2005.

“The last couple of months, we’ve tabled the fee discussion,” Parks Director Jeff Stubblefield began. “... It’s time to either table it for good, or let’s do something.”

In previous meetings, Stubblefield suggested a $50 increase in most fees at Indian Foothills Golf Course, as well as an increase in shelter fees. After giving the board ample time to review suggested changes, he asked that they come to a decision.

Board members commented the increase was a long time coming, and were in favor of the increase, as the increased fees would still be in line with comparable parks. The board did have a lengthy discussion on where the funds from the increase would go.

Stubblefield originally suggested half the increase go into the general fund, and the remaining money go into specific capital improvement funds.

“I’d still like to take some of those dollars, when we increase, and put into a capital improvement account so that it doesn’t all go to our general budget,” he said.

He explained each division of the park, such as the golf course and aquatic center, would have its own separate line item in the capital improvement fund. The result would mean funds collected at the golf course would be used only to improve the golf course, and so on.

“Fees that you’re charging for that enterprise fund, whether it’s the golf course, aquatic center, or whatever, you try to keep those dollars in line and spend those dollars where you’re taking them in,” Marshall City Administrator David Haugland, who was a guest at the meeting, said. “... It’s more transparent to the public that you’ve raised the fees but those dollars are going back in (to those specific areas).”

Vice president Wayne Crawford asked whether all funds from the increase could go into the capital improvement fund instead of splitting it, but the idea was met with some opposition.

“It’s kind of like putting money in a savings account when you’re overdrawing your checking account,” Board member Scott Fann said.

After some discussion, the board agreed and approved Stubblefield’s increased fee suggestions, with the increase to go toward both the general fund and capital improvement fund 50/50. Fees to be increased include aquatic center season passes — an increase of $5 for both the individual and family passes; shelter fees from $25 to $30; annual golf and cart fees — showing a $50 increase across the board; weekday golf rates increase by $2; weekend golf rates increase between $2-4; and driving range fees increase $1-2.

All increases will take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

In addition, Stubblefield suggested the park do away with private golf cart storage. Currently, the course stores eight private golf carts in its storage shed.

“With the transitioning with moving things to the new maintenance building, we need storage space,” he explained. “... I would recommend that we would eliminate the private storage and mail (the private cart owners) letters.”

He added that he spoke with several individuals already about the possible elimination. The board approved the change, with golf carts to be removed by Jan. 1.

During his report, Stubblefield said an insurance representative was on hand last month, who noted a few minor items that needed to be addressed, such as expired fire extinguishers, paint on a sidewalk, broken outlets, and required signs by the equipment shed. All problems have either already been addressed, or are in the process.

In talking finances, Stubblefield said September was the end of the fiscal year.

“Overall, I’m pleased with the way we finished out the year,” he said. “We were able to give a small payment to the city; they said we didn’t have to this year. ... I’m very pleased with the way the budget came out, and look forward to fiscal year 2018 as we continue to reduce our debt as 2018 is our final payment on the back nine.”

He estimated $409,000 was spent on the Lyon Bowl project, and monthly and year-to-date numbers were comparable for all areas of the park. Though the sales tax saw a decrease of approximately $11,000 from the same time last year, it was still reportedly above what was budgeted.

Golf Operations Coordinator Jordan Dickson reported ladies league is continuing on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and senior league on most Wednesdays. The ConAgra tournament brought 18 teams, Missouri Valley College’s fall tournament brought seven women's teams and six men’s teams, 18 teams participated in the couples scramble, and a Newmar traveling group came earlier this month. Upcoming events include a Trinity Lutheran tournament Oct. 7, a benefit tournament Oct. 9, and a possible Halloween tournament.

The bunker project at the course will reportedly begin next week, and maintenance crews will begin the winterization process at the aquatic center. In activities, men’s slow pitch will continue for three more weeks.

The park will host the sixth annual Marshall Open Disc Golf Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 21. Tee off is scheduled for 10 a.m., with the field limited to 144 players.

“There are players from all over the country supposedly coming,” Stubblefield said. “... They’re expecting well over 100 players.”

For more information about the tournament, visit discgolfmoney.com.

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