City spends another $230K to bolster Bobby Jones

The Sarasota City Commission approved 3-2 this week an additional $230,000 be added to balance the budget for the Bobby Jones Golf Club. Commissioners Hagen Brody and Shelli Freeland Eddie voted against the measure, which brought the total funding for the Golf Club to $880,000 for Fiscal Year 2019.

The Commission approved the plan to keep Bobby Jones Golf Club with 27 regulation holes and the 9 hole adjustable course for public use. City staff is also working with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast to create 47 acres of park space on the Bobby Jones Property.

Brody asked why the original amount budgeted for Bobby Jones was only $650,000 or 30 percent off from the estimate. City staff said that the revenues did not come in as expected and that the fiscal year began with a $127,000 deficit. Staff also informed Brody that the additional $230,000 would be taken out of the City’s reserves.

Commissioner Freeland Eddie had requested a breakdown of the $230,000 extra and asked how the City could not have anticipated some of the costs. There was $158,750 cost for a surface drainage project, two business plans prepared by the National Golf Foundation cost $28,000 and raises and insurance for personnel totaled $147,210.

City Staff informed Freeland Eddie and the commission that a 3 percent pay increase for the employees was factored into the budget and the drainage work and business plans were approved by the City Commission after the 2019 fiscal year began.

Freeland Eddie after the 3-2 vote to subsidize the cost of the Golf Club, made a new motion which directed city staff to prepare an update about how they can work over the next year to begin to reduce the subsidy; however, the motion did not go forward due to lack of a second.

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