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Council tables action on golf course fee increase
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

October 22. 2013 9:18AM
Fees to play golf at the Brandon Municipal will be going up once again.

But the question now is just how much and when.

The Brandon City Council began discussion on the rate increase Oct. 7, but came to no conclusion as they await a report from consultant Mark Amundson. The Council hired AS Enterprises, which is owned by Amundson, last year to study the overall operation of the Brandon Municipal Golf Course. He was scheduled to update them Monday, but obligations kept him from the meeting, so the Council tabled his update to a special meeting, which was held Tuesday.

The rate increase should come as little surprise to long-time patrons of the BMGC. The Council increased rates 5 percent for the current season, and in 2012, rates went up 15 percent. Similar increases were imposed in 2011 and 2010, and were implemented to help the operation’s bottom line and to bring them more in line with area golf course rates.

Alderwoman Mindy Hansen proposed a 3 percent increase for next year. She said some golfers, hoping to take advantage of the early-bird discounts, are waiting to buy their passes for next season.

“At this point I think we should go with the standard 3 percent increase to stay consistent with what we’ve been doing in the past,” Hansen said. “ … We run into issues is when we take a 15 to 20 percent jump.”

This past season, golfers were offered a 15 percent discount if the season pass was purchased in November, and 10 percent if purchased in December. Brandon residents also received an additional 10 percent discount.

Area courses offer 5 to 15 percent discounts for early sign up, according to information gathered by BMGC manger Zane Swenson.

Alderman Bob Bruning suggested the Council should wait on the rate increase until after hearing Amundson’s report. Bruning has repeatedly suggested that the BMGC rates are 10 percent below those of other area courses.

“We’ve got a resource that’s owned by the citizens of the community, and it’s a gem for this community,” he said. “ … It has a certain value that it should demand. … and if I was a taxpayer of this community I would be upset and want to know why are we giving away 10 percent? Let’s get it up there where it belongs, where it’s supposed to be.”

Sitting in for Mayor Larry Beesley, mayor pro-tem Blaine Jones said the golf course should be treated no differently than the city’s other enterprise funds, such as the water and sewer funds.

“This is an enterprise fund. We’ve done studies for water and sewer, and in principle, I don’t think of this as a whole different,” he said.

Like Bruning, Jones agreed it would be best to hear Amundson’s report first before setting the golf course rates for 2014.
Three new wells approved
Council members gave city engineer Jon Brown the green light to proceed with plans for three new wells in the city.

“We certainly don’t want to be the next community on the front page,” Jones said.

In general, the $362,000 plan consists of design and preparation of civil plan documents, assisting with the bidding process and construction administration and staking of well improvements in three phases: well development, well construction and a well transmission line.

The three new wells will be funded through a bond bid process.

In addition to approving the wells, the Council also approved the city engineer’s proposal to rehabilitate four of the city’s lift stations. Brown said the improvements would extend the “life” of the lift stations seven to 10 years. The lift station rehab costs were tagged at $9,750, Read said.

Fees to play golf at the Brandon Municipal will be increased for the 2014 season. The Brandon City Council approved Resolution 24-13 Monday night, which increases rates 5 percent across-the-board. Challenger file photo

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