Kitimat councillors address golf club budget bogey

The air is cleared regarding a $50,000 payment made to the Kitimat golf and winter club.

Councillors were seemingly caught off guard when they discovered through a regular statement of accounts released that the Hirsch Creek Golf and Winter Club received the second half of their requested $100,000 from this year’s budget.

Members of the golf club’s executive requested the $100,000, and council pre-approved them for the first half, with the expectation they’d work with Kitimat staff on developing a business place to address their revenue and costs issues.

However councillors were expecting another chance to discuss the situation before the golf club received the second $50,000.

The second payment was processed in June.

In response staff compiled a list of motions that council had made, which explained the process leading up to the additional payment.

On November 19, 2012, council agreed to write a letter of comfort to the golf club, which itself didn’t commit the town to any payments. However a budget request later did come to council on November 26, and councillors then decided to refer the request to the 2013 budget process. Staff were also directed to meet with the executive and bring back information to council.

On December 12, during a special budget meeting, councillors decided to give the $50,000, with a review for further funding between staff and the club, to develop a new operational plan.

The total $100,000 request was included in 2013’s proposed budget from staff. That line item was not struck from the budget by council for the five year financial plan.

On April 22, a new presentation was made by golf club executive members Art Emmerson and Derek Degoeij, which included a five-year business plan.

According to staff, the rationale the additional $50,000 was released was because a business plan for the club was brought forward, and the total grant was approved through the budget process.

Councillor Corinne Scott said at the July 22 Committee of the Whole meeting where this report was given that she had expected further meetings with the Director of Leisure services to better understand how the club was doing.

“I thought we were actually waiting to ensure they were on a good financial track before we issued them a final cheque,” she said.

Mary Murphy said she still wants to see more detailed financials.

Mario Feldhoff was happy with the report and said they should work closely to find new options for the club for 2014.

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