City Gambled on Golf Course Expansion

According to the City of Antioch’s revised Special Revenue, Capital Projects, Enterprise and Internal Service Funds budget presented to Council in the May 24, 2011 study session, the city’s planning to spend the funds which came from passage of Measure WW (the East Bay Regional Park District Bond which provided funds to improve regional parks, trails and recreational facilities) for the following projects: Fishing Pier Pavilion, Prewett Park Eastern Parking Lot, Parks and Rec Security Cameras, Deerfield and Eagleridge Park playground equipment and a new lighting system for the driving range at the Lone Tree Golf Course ($247,000).

There are a number of golf courses in East County but the Lone Tree Golf Course, established in 1934 as a 9-hole course and expanded to 18 holes in the early ’50s is unique in that it’s owned by the City of Antioch.

In March of 2001 the City Council approved a plan to replace the clubhouse with a larger building, which would quadruple banquet space and add locker rooms and conference space. The $4 million project was to be paid mostly through bonds that would be paid back by green fees and income from the banquet room, restaurant and bar.

Regrettably, the 2001 ABAG Lease revenue bonds are currently outstanding for $5,305,000 and have a final maturity in 2031. The golf course, undoubtedly affected by the tough economy, is currently behind in its reimbursement for the debt service.

As for the Antioch Unified School District, their board just put out to bid a project consisting of the removal of the existing swimming pool and diving pool finishes at Antioch High School, something that has been talked about for a number of years that were far better economically.

The timing of the bid announcement is interesting due to the fact that the state budget is still in flux. In fact the board, who held a special budget study session in February considered three scenarios at their meeting.

Scenario 1 assumes the governor’s budget passes as proposed, resulting in a $320,00 reduction in funding from 2010-11 levels. Scenario 2 assumes the special election to extend taxes fails, impacting the district by another $5.9 million. In the 3rd scenario, the district assumes the special election doesn’t pass and Prop. 98 is suspended by the legislature to allow the state to fund schools below the level required by law, the district then sustaining an additional funding reduction of $632 per student, which equates to over $11.2 million.

AUSD does admit it has sizable reserves but – due to the fact that 87% of their general fund budget is utilized for salary and benefits of district personnel if the funding reduction as calculated in the third scenario should occur – the district would lose 12.5% of its current fund, which would result in cuts to district personnel and programs.

4 Comments to “City Gambled on Golf Course Expansion”

  1. Martin Fernandez says:

    Eighty seven percent “87%” of their money is salary and benefits of district personnel? Good heavens!

    Forget the swimming pool. Do not spend that money.

    This is criminal.

  2. Linda Thompson says:

    I agree with Martin. Why are we cutting counselors at all High School sites and cutting the co principal at DVHS because of the budget but can re- doing the pool at AHS.This project has been put on hold for years and the AUSD lost the funds promised by the city to help out as they(AUSD) never had their share to start the project. Now all of a sudden they have money to do this?
    Once again I am confused at what is the priority for this district.

    • Publisher says:

      The funds for the pool are from capital money, while the costs for the counselors and co-principals would have to be paid with ongoing revenue. Different pockets and sources of funds for different uses. For more detail, please contact one of the school board members.
      Allen Payton

  3. Bob Driskell says:

    Why not sell the golf course. Pay off the bonds before the interest starts rising. Stop throwing our money in a pit or rather a sand trap.

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