Montevallo Golf Club supporters voice opinions at City Council meeting

Employees and supporters of the Montevallo Golf Club showed up to voice their opinions at the May 11 Montevallo City Council meeting. (File)

Employees and supporters of the Montevallo Golf Club showed up to voice their opinions at the May 11 Montevallo City Council meeting. (File)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO–The public comment portion of Montevallo’s May 11 City Council meeting was filled with comments and concerns from city employees and regulars of the Montevallo Golf Club about the possible future of the course.

A section on the agenda recommended that the Finance Committee authorize the orderly transition of the management of the Montevallo Golf Course back to the University of Montevallo on or before the lease termination date that is dated October 2016.

The golf course land is owned by the university and leased by the city and the finance committee recommended the city turn the management of the course over from the city to the university meaning a few city jobs might be in jeopardy.

“I just have a question of what if,” said Montevallo Golf Club Greens Superintendent Clay Arnall. “You’ve got two full-time city employees working at the golf course and if it reverts back to the college what happens to us?”

Montevallo Mayor Hollie Cost responded by saying more information would need to be acquired by the human resources department and said that the golf course has consistently been losing money.

“The golf course continues to lose money between $25,000 and $50,000 a year so that’s the bottom line,” said Cost. “This is unbudgeted and every year for the last 10 years the budget was not made. The golf course owes the city $240,000 right now.”

Ed Davis, PGA Golf Professional, has been at Montevallo for 17 years and rebutted by saying $25,000 is not very much money if you look at an overview of the entire budget.

“Up until 2007 the golf course has never owed anything to the city,” said Davis. “From 2008 until now we’ve averaged losing $25,000 to $30,000 a year. $25,000 into the total city’s budget is only six tenths of one percent out of the budget. Everybody is acting like it’s a catastrophe we lose $25,000 a year, but that golf course is worth way more than $25,000 and is an investment to a small town like this.”

Dr. Earl Cunningham of Montevallo spoke in favor of the golf course and his recommendation was met with applause from some in attendance.

“I rise to do all I can for the quality of life for Shelby County,” said Cunningham. “My thing is quality of life, parks and recreation should be the last thing to go. It was a wonderful sight to see the Boys and Girls Club out there golfing. My recommendation, and it’s a humble recommendation, is that you table the discussion for thirty days.”

Eventually, the council agreed to table the discussion until the next Council Meeting on June 8 to reappear on the agenda.