Facing a Saturday deadline, the Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen still seem unsettled on what to do about the Municipal Golf Course and Swimming Pool
Smithville Golf Management is giving up it's lease as of Saturday, October 23rd and no one has yet been selected by the city to either to lease or manage the operation.
You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.
Two weeks ago, the aldermen voted to seek written proposals from interested parties and last night (Monday night) two were offered. Thursday night, the mayor and aldermen will meet in a workshop at 7:00 p.m. to review the proposals from Farron Hendrix and Tony Poss and any others that might be presented.
Farron Hendrix of Smithville Golf Management, the current tenant, told the mayor and aldermen Monday night that his group would agree to assist the city in the continued management of the golf course during the transition under certain conditions.
Hendrix said those conditions are that: "The City of Smithville will purchase our equipment at an appraised value."
"The City of Smithville will pay two employees (chosen by Smithville Golf Management) an hourly wage of $10.00 each to run the clubhouse and maintain the golf course."
Smithville Golf Management will continue to oversee the course, maintain and repair the equipment (with the City purchasing any needed parts), and assist with course maintenance (aerating, mowing, seeding, etc.) until April 1st, 2011."
"Smithville Golf Management will submit to the City all green fees collected, and weekly time sheets of the employees."
"Currently, two employees are needed nine hours per day Monday through Friday, and ten hours per day Saturday and Sunday; however, as the weather changes, these weekly hours will decrease", said Hendrix.
Hendrix added "This proposal will allow the City to keep the Golf Course operational during the slower winter season, and will allow the City an extended amount of time to determine how to best manage the Golf Course."
Meanwhile, Tony Poss, doing business as Poss Lawncare, addressed the mayor and aldermen Monday night with his own proposal.
"My proposal has four options for the city to consider. Option 1: I agree to manage the golf course and swimming pool for the City of Smithville for all revenues under $94,000 to help pay for labor in the Pro-shop and golf course mowing labor from this $94,000. After $94,000 in gross sales, I will reimburse the city at a rate of 50% each month until my management term is terminated. The city will pay for all expenses of the pool, golf course, lifeguards, utilities, and all insurance costs. Repair or replace any defects in irrigation lines to the greens and tee boxes which includes pumps or any other issue that may arise. The city will pay for all Golf course equipment needed and expenses on the equipment while I'm overseeing the course. Any new equipment for the course or improvements will be approved by the city and myself before any purchases are made. This proposal is for 10 years and an optional 10 year extension. I will give the city a 60 day notice of any intent to void a contract at any time and in no way be obligated to this proposal if awarded under these terms. These terms can be discussed or altered in any way as long as both parties agree to the terms. If the city agrees to any proposal, the city also pays the attorney fees to make any one of these proposals legal."
"Option 2: I would retain all revenues under $71,000 to pay for three employees to run the Pro-Shop and keep the greens, golf course and swimming pool under supervision. This pro-shop is open seven days a week and a minimum of 12-14 hours per day. The city would pay all expenses and after the $71,000 is reached in gross sales, I would reimburse the city 50% of the sales after that. The city would furnish extra help to mow the golf course."
"Option 3: Pay me a salary of $71,000 to manage the course seven days a week, on average 119 hours per week during peak months and the city to supply needed help and equipment. The city would keep 80% of the revenues and I would receive 20%.'
"Option 4: have a workshop to see if an agreement can be reached."
Poss added " My main goal is to have a manicured golf course, respectful pro-shop, and a more up to date swimming pool. This is why I want to partner with the city to try and get grants to achieve this."
Mayor Taft Hendrixson said the city could not purchase equipment directly from Smithville Golf Management, because of the competitive bidding requirement. Alderman Aaron Meeks added that funds are not allocated in this year's budget for some of the suggestions offered up in these proposals.
The mayor said if no agreement is reached soon, the city may have to hire someone as a stand-in manager to keep the golf course maintained until the issue is settled.
The Smithville Aldermen Monday night approved a request for a group to place a labyrinth in Greenbrook Park that the public may use for personal reflection and meditation.
A labyrinth provides a walking path which leads to the center of an intricate spiral design and back out again. The labyrinth is often used to facilitate prayer, meditation, and spiritual transformation.
Betsy Driver addressed the mayor and aldermen Monday night asking for approval to place the labyrinth in the park.. "A labyrinth is essentially a prayer circle. It's a place where somebody can go to and take fifteen, thirty minutes, or an hour out of their day and seek an answer to maybe whatever it is they're looking for. To take time out and walk a path. When you start in that path, it goes around a large circle and then it intertwines back and forth until you meet in the center and then from that point, you walk back out of it in the same direction you came in. When we begin this project, we intend to include groups from the county locally to help get this project off the ground. We hope that whether it's the suicide awareness groups, people who would be from the cancer walk group, they could use it during their time there by placing candles perhaps in remembrance of those who have passed on."
Mark Pafford, a local minister who also supports the project, said a labyrinth can also be therapeutic. "It would be large enough to have a walking path in that spiral pattern. I have worked with many groups who use a labyrinth in a therapeutic setting. As a chaplain resident at the V.A., I used it with the V.A. patients and substance abuse patients at the V.A. in Murfreesboro to great benefit as well as behavioral health patients and geriatric patients to assist them. It's not only a therapeutic thing but it's a prayer space. A place for reflection and a place to retreat. Greenbrook Park offers a wonderful setting and venue for this piece. I think it would be a wonderful addition to that public space there."
Driver added that the city would not have to maintain it. "There will be no maintenance to it. We will be the ones to maintain it. Outside the actual labyrinth itself, we've given about seven feet of area that will be a garden that we'll plant just a few trees, evergreens, and ornamental trees and that space would be very easy for our maintenance crew to literally circle around. They'll not have to enter that space at all."
Driver said the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club, who oversee activities in Greenbrook Park, has given it's blessing for the labyrinth.
Again, the aldermen approved the request but city officials want some input on where it is to be located in the park.
In other business, the aldermen voted to dip into the general fund surplus again by increasing it's annual contribution to the Chamber of Commerce.
The city annually budgets $5,000 for the chamber but Chamber Director Suzanne Williams says the chamber needs a little extra money to help them get by and asked for an additional $5,000 per year. "The Chamber struggles every year (financially). We've got a bare bones budget. We don't have an extravagant amount of money we spend on anything. It's mostly for utilities and rent. We don't have high salaries. I have a part time secretary. This year has been particularly difficult because of the economic downturn and other things. At one point, I didn't know how we were going to get through the end of October."
" I spoke to the county commission to let them know our situation. As I told them outside of our fundraisers and our membership, we still need an extra $30,000 just to make our budget. The county commission voted to increase their annual funding from $10,000 to $20,000 and they asked that I come and speak to the city and see if you would increase yours from $5,000 to $10,000.'
"Out of the fourteen Upper Cumberland counties, we have the third highest tourism dollars. We bring in like $35 million in tourism dollars and we're one of the lowest funded chambers in the region. We know that Smithville does benefit significantly from tourism dollars and I hope that you would see the many benefits the chamber brings and provides for the city. I think if you had to open your own welcome center, just hiring one employee would probably be $20,000 not to mention all the other things that's involved with that. But I would ask that you consider amending your budget and adding an extra $5,000 to your annual contribution to the chamber."
The budget year for the chamber of commerce runs from January to December and the fiscal year for the city is from July 1st , 2010 to June 30th, 2011. Alderman Steve White made a motion to amend the budget and add $2,500 to the line item for the chamber this budget year making their total appropriation $7,500 for the fiscal year through June 30th, 2011 and then budget a total of $10,000 in next year's budget, which begins July 1st, 2011. The motion was adopted unanimously.
City employee Jimmy Taylor asked the mayor and aldermen if he could donate five of his sick days to a co-worker whose wife is in the hospital with a serious illness. Taylor says this employee has exhausted his own sick days and needs to be with his wife. The aldermen approved the request, provided it is legal for the city to do so. Officials will check with the city's financial consultant Janice Plemmons-Jackson and possibly the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to make sure.