Council: City golf course not up for discussion - yet
August 12. 2014 12:57PM
The city-owned golf course could be sold if the Brandon City Council would choose to do so.
But city residents could have a say in listing it for sale if they would choose to petition Council action to bring the issue to a public vote.
Those two questions were asked – and answered – at the Aug. 4 session of the Brandon City Council.
Jerry Backer, a member of the local golf course board, addressed the Council on the topic last week. “There’s a lot of talk with the guys, and the question is, how do you guys proceed?”
The question stems from the Council’s action more than a year ago when they hired a golf course consulting company, AS Enterprises (Mark Amundson), to conduct a full review of the course operations. In his last report to the Council, Amundson suggested ways the city-owned course could improve its bottom line. The consultant also proposed the ideas of leasing and/or selling the course.
The report findings led to Sioux Falls businessman Tom Walsh, last November, submitting a proposal to lease the city-owned course for $400,000 annually with future option to buy. Walsh also requested that the deal be solidified by the start of 2014, and put a $1.2 million value on the course. Walsh’s proposal also dictated the annual lease fees and cost of any capital improvements made during the lease period would be deducted from the full purchase price.
At that time, the Council took no action on Walsh’s proposal.
Last week, Mayor Larry Beesley confirmed to Backer no further discussion has taken place since then. “We have not had any discussion on the sale of the golf course,” Beesley said.
In her research, City Attorney Lisa Marso found the title conditions of the course property, which was gifted to the city in 1978, no longer stand.
After 20 years, the land donation conditions have expired, and the Council could take quiet title action if they wanted to, City Administrator Bryan Read said. “We own it free and clear,” he said, “And we may move forward with a quiet title action just to stop any questions in the future.”
And if at sometime the Council decides to put the city-owned amenity up for sale, Marso said, “My opinion is that is would be advertised for sale, which is subject to referendum by vote of the people.”
She added if the Council chooses to sell the course, the sale would be made public, and said it would likely be appraised before being listed.
Read said the issue will be revisited in late September-early October.
“Our plan is as the end of this season we’ll take a look at the operations (numbers) and will take the flooding into account,” he said.
Read also said Walsh has had no recent contacts with city officials.
Meadowbrook Trail extension
Extension of Meadowbrook Trail from Sandstone Avenue to Heritage Road on the west side of Brandon is getting no financial support from the developer.
Read said the property owner isn’t willing to put up the estimated $480,000 that would give residents in the Creekside Development access to the electronic traffic signals at the intersection of Heritage Road and Holly Boulevard.
Approximately 18 months ago, city administrators didn’t see an immediate need to extend Meadowbrook Trail from its traffic study. Wait times to access Holly Boulevard were minimal at that time, Read said.
Read said that once school is back in session, a follow-up survey of the traffic will be conducted.
“The survey at that time showed there was no issue, but people who contacted us said there is an issue,” he said.
But if the Council decides Meadowbrook Trail should be extended, the $480,000 still needs to come from somewhere.
Read said the city has two options: Condemn the property or obtain an easement to it. Another possible option is assessing the costs to the property owner over 10 years or assess all property owners who would benefit from the access road. Read said the cost would be about $3,300 per lot and the assessment could be spread out over 10 years as well.
Alderwoman Mindy Hansen said the $480,000 costs should be shared by all of the property owners in the development.
“If everybody’s going to benefit from it, I’m leaning to assessing the entire development for the beneficial road,” she said.
Alderpersons Blaine Jones and Barb Fish both expressed support for moving forward.
“My personal opinion is we need to proceed,” Jones said. “This road needs to be built … and I’m not willing to stop the project because someone is not willing to do it.”
Fish said she’s received numerous comments from residents who live in the west side development.
Police dept. personnel
• Police Chief Dave Kull informed the Council that the interview process for the one remaining opening in the department began last week. Kull said 15 candidates are being interviewed.
“Looking at the applications, I feel we have a good field to choose from,” Kull said.
The majority of the 15 candidates going through the interview process are not certified, Kull said. “The approach I take is we’re going to choose the best people we can, and if they come certified, the better.”
Kull said he’s reserved two spots for officer training in Pierre next March.
• In another police department personnel matter, the Council accepted the resignation of Officer Kiel Ricci. Ricci has been with the Brandon Police Department since Aug. 1, 2011, along with fellow officers Zach Hagstrom and Anthony Lingen.
He has accepted a position with the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Department.
“When I hired the three here back on Aug. 1, 2011, I asked them for three years of service,” Kull said. “He’s (Ricci) got three years and 16 days in.”
• To fill a prior opening in the Brandon Police force, Kull has hired a former officer with the department, Jamie Steffel. Aug. 15 is the projected start date for Steffel.