After years of needing to be bailed out by the Janesville City Council, the Prairie Ridge Golf Course is projected to come out ahead for the 2020 season.
Every year during the city budget process, the council assigns funds for the city-owned golf course to cover deficits. In the 2020 budget the council budgeted $30,000. The biggest deficit the city paid out for the golf course was in 2016, when the city transferred $2.03 million from three utility funds to the Prairie Ridge Golf Course.
But Prairie Ridge had a record year for revenue in 2020, which prompted General Manager Scott Allen and Grounds Superintendent Jacob Lehrke to suggest putting some of the golf funds toward a new deck on the clubhouse. They said at the Nov. 9 council meeting that the deck on the clubhouse is deteriorating and will need to be replaced.
“The deck is basically a lawsuit waiting to happen,” Councilor Melissa Kopachek said. “It’s getting pretty bad and half the cost is being taken up by labor being donated.”
The city received a bid in October for the deck and will be receiving a second bid soon. The materials are estimated to cost about $30,000 with labor costing about the same. All of the $30,000 in labor cost will be covered by the Janesville Area Golf Association.
The council discussed pre-ordering some materials for the deck using $20,000 of the budgeted funds from 2020 and taking $10,000 from the 2021 budget to pay for the remaining materials. No final decision was made about the deck and discussion will continue at future council meetings.
“It’s not often that we have a positive on the bottom that we can purchase stuff this year,” Mayor Mike Santo said.
“They’re going to be showing a profit this year, unless something strange happens at the end of the year and I think we can wave a fee for a building permit for a city owned building.”
Allen also mentioned he is expecting some donations from members to help with the cost of the deck, which he said is “exciting.”
Over the recent years the council has taken steps to help improve Prairie Ridge and one of the decisions was to bring back the Golf Advisory Board.
The board is made up of four members and a council member. Kopachek is the councilor on the board along with residents of Janesville. The board meets often and reports to the council about the golf course’s funds, membership and other needs, which allows the council to have a better understanding of its operations.