Taxpayers Pay the Tab To Keep Colony West Golf Course in Business

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By: Sharon Aron Baron

A secret special meeting was called in the city of Tamarac that was so special, not even the citizens or media were notified about it. During the city commission meeting the day before, City Manager Michael Cernech never mentioned there would be a meeting the very next day during his four minute announcement.

The meeting involved voting for a new half million dollar, five-year contract for a new management company for Colony West, a golf course the city bought in a short sale in 2011 for $3 million. The golf course had been closed since August because the management walked away saying they couldn’t make a profit.

In late September, Cernech told the commission he was getting proposals and that he would be presenting them at one of the October workshop meetings, but according to the agendas, these proposals were never discussed at a workshop. Instead, they went immediately to a special meeting for review and a vote on the same day.

There was no reason this vote couldn’t have taken place during a regular city commission meeting so that citizens could speak publicly about the millions it could potentially cost them.

You have to take control and ‘manage’ this and not to leave it to ‘lesser’ likes, to put it politely.” – Vice Mayor Harry Dressler on getting a Press Release out immediately after voting for the new management deal.

An evaluation committee headed up by Finance Director Mark Mason, chose Billy Casper Golf out of Vienna, Virginia out of an initial pool of thirty applicants that were narrowed down to three. Mason stated that he had experience from the last several cities that he worked for budgeting for golf courses and making them profitable. However, upon further research, the City of Cape Coral, says otherwise when the current financial services director was quoted in 2011 saying, “My concern is the golf course historically has not made money.”

According to the Sun Sentinel, on November 1st, the new management contract with Billy Casper Golf will be effective to run the golf course, restaurant and pro shop. However, the city has to pay the company over $497,000 to manage the course and $250, 000 for start up costs. The city’s income will come from food, drink and golfing fees.

Some of the expenses that the city (taxpayers) will have to pay for are:

  • $150,000 in upgrades to carpets, bathrooms and possibly the A/C units
  • Fence installation along the course to prevent pedestrians or school children from walking through the courses
  • Bahama shutters on the maintenance unit that they can keep locked
  • Redo the parking lot in the next two years.
  • Landscaping in the front

But wait. Maybe our city can get back some of those profits that come from Colony West and use it towards say…people who don’t golf in this city?

Oh no, that’s not going to happen. The profits will be used for maintenance and improvements for Colony West.

A never ending cycle money pit!

Amazingly, is that the staff could not say what, if any, profit they expected to make from the golf course.

So, the commission voted to award a contract without financial data about the operation of the golf course.

The resolution to award the contract passed unanimously. The city estimated Colony West will reopen January 1, 2014.

Talabisco also stressed that now it was a done deal, it was a good time to get a press release out. Vice Mayor Harry Dressler said, You have to take control and ‘manage’ this and not to leave it to ‘lesser’  likes, to put it politely.”

“Yeah we know,” said Talabisco.

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Tamarac Talk and Coral Springs Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2010 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Tamarac and to give resident's a forum. We are not affiliated with the City of Tamarac. That's why this site can be occasionally opinionated and obviously open.

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  • Mark Desrosiers

    What city are our elected officials representing?? It certainly isn’t Tamarac!!!

  • Erica Latker

    Tamarac is a train wreck!!!

  • Stewindist2

    How about a (another?) petition to require that there is public input into these kinds of decisions AND that the public be allowed to at least hear the presentations of ‘short listed’ companies in situations like this?

    Fencing?? Wha?? The course winds through some scenic communities!! Will that be cheap/unattractive chain link, or …..?
    From this article, it looks as if the winning company put little on the table in terms of incentives.

    It is time for a change to greater public input..

  • SaveTheMainlands

    I want to know who’s brother-in-law owns a fence company.
    Someone is bound to make a quick buck off of this latest deal. If not, why do it
    in a secret meeting?

  • Colony West Golfer

    The financial success of the golf course depends on the green fees! The previous owner did not adjust the green fees to maximize play. They charged too much and maintained empty courses. With carefully selected, lower green fees much higher revenue and (probably) profits can be realized.

  • kahuna

    Just when you thought city commissioners couldn’t be so stupid as to get into another behind the scenes golf course deal, SURPRISE! They make a quick last minute deal without any public input or consideration. You would think the last golf course scandal would have been enough to change things, but NO, they are still so pompous and disrespectful to the general public, that they all need to be kicked out of office with a new commission that will fire Cernich and realize they work for US! .

  • David

    Obviously this deal was a sham. Read it. They needed to get their PR people to write a press release before news was released about this deal. How did we suddenly get all this money for buildings and golf courses but we can’t get enough police to protect us, our parks open, and this place looks like crap in areas. Anyone listening?

    • KDM

      David, “but we can’t get enough police to protect us, our parks open, and this place looks like crap in areas. Anyone listening?” You have that right! The Commissioners don’t like SNID’s to better our neighborhoods, but they sure like empty lots of land to keep the city green?

  • Colonial West neighbor

    Can the former owners so easily walk away from their lease obligation? Weren’t there personal guarantees? I hope the city pursues damages. Being a neighbor of the course, I want it to stay open because looking at the nearby closed shopping centers is certainly depressing enough. The city purchase of the course had given me some hope.

  • wedgewood owner

    I really hope that fences are not erected in my backyard, i didnt approve it and wont stand for it. Its a public course , run by the city, using My tax dollars. There will be no fence surrounding the wedgewood community. We will fight you every legal means necessary.

    • Unhappy Camper

      I agree. Where did the fencing idea come from? I hope they let us know at one of our meetings before they do this. This isn’t very neighborly!!!! It’s a city golf course they may as well put electrical fences up to keep us out!