Golf cart fee still a hot issue in Holiday Island

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Holiday Island District Manager Kevin Crosson can't remember what number draft he's on to Regulation 26-2002 regarding golf cart fees, but he's calling it number 4.

Monday the suburban improvement district Board of Commissioners (HISID) looked at yet another revision to the controversial issue of charging golf cart fees.

The latest revision takes into account comments made at last month's board sessions by both commissioners and the public.

Changes include the following wording:

"Guests paying a golf (green) fee are exempt from paying a cart fee if riding with a property owner with a paid cart fee or a leased District cart. Non-member (individuals not owning property in Holiday Island) private carts are not allowed on District golf courses."

The annual $130 fee remains the same for individuals and corporations.

The daily cart fee for property owners owning carts and choosing not to pay the annual fee is $10 a day, plus tax, for up to two riding family members.

But the daily cart fee for property owners who do not own a cart and ride in a leased cart or a cart with a paid annual cart fee with a decal is $5 a day, plus tax.

Although commissioners started out by saying they are mostly satisfied with the changes, the discussion quickly turned to the fairness of the policy, with some property owners expressing support and some dissenting.

"A person who doesn't own a cart and is willing to invest in an annual cart fee, we had talked about them paying $65," said Chairman Boyce Williams.

"Guests don't have to pay a cart fee if they ride with the property owner," said Commissioner Ken Mills. "If two guests borrow a cart and the property owner is not with them, they pay $5 each."

Some residents were upset at what appears to be a punitive policy.

"The few that have abused the policy and buddied up -- why does the majority have to be punished?" asked Allen Darge. He said he had golfing buddies who offered to go in on his cart fee, but he told them to help out with gas instead.

"This gives them the ability to ride in anyone's cart," Crosson replied.

Ex-Holiday Island Ladies Golf Association (HILGA) president Myrna Peterson said the policy seems fair.

"I played with two property owners who no longer live here for years, and they never rented a cart. They begged and borrowed, and if they couldn't get a cart, one of them walked. HILGA used to borrow carts for invitationals. When I was president, we changed that to where people had to rent carts.

"As much as it pains me to say it, golfers are not the majority of property owners in Holiday Island, and non-golfing property owners appreciate it when the golf course can help pay for itself."

Mills said he disagrees with the property owner riding with the guest, and the guest pays no fee.

"We're trying to avoid the abuse of someone who has a cart in storage and has three dozen property owners use the cart. They should pay a fee," Crosson said.

Mills suggested the board put the change through and evaluate it at the end of the year.

Another hot golf topic was a discussion of requiring two people to a cart. Mostly men, it was noted, are taking out four and five golf carts, one per person. Concern for wear and tear on the golf courses generated this discussion. Crosson made it clear this is a separate issue from the golf cart fee.

Responses were mixed.

"I think it's ludicrous when you see 32 carts on four holes," said Mills. "Golfing is supposed to be a social event. I've never seen anything like this on any golf course I've ever been on."

Commissioner Harley Barnum agreed.

"I would rather not see us try to legislate this," said Williams. "I don't think there's significant wear and tear. I think we should pursue this through HIMGA (the men's golf association) and HILGA."

Peterson said there are advantages -- such as fewer distractions from one's game -- to riding alone in a cart. She took exception to the idea that golf "is supposed to be social."

Others suggested the matter should be left up to the Golf Pro, but Crosson said the board had made a habit of regulating all other golf course policies and should do so with this as well. They agreed.

It is unlikely they will vote on the issue at the April 26 business meeting. Williams suggested getting more information from the golf associations, the Pro and the golf course superintendent.

In other business, HISID:

  • Considered an agreement for architectural services for Recreation Complex improvements. Out of five Requests for Qualifications submitted, district staff is recommending the board go with Morrison Architecture of Holiday Island. The study will cost $17,000. A 1993 study of a completely new recreation facility, including indoor swimming pool and 600-seat auditorium, was forwarded to Morrison for information purposes. The current study will deal with existing facilities. Commissioners will most likely vote on the agreement at their business meeting.

  • Considered the Wastewater Treatment Plant Project's second-phase engineering agreement with McGoodwin, Williams and Yates. The agreement covers preliminary services of working on and obtaining the discharge permits from either Arkansas or Missouri water quality departments, projecting project costs, and evaluating financing (bond issue vs. revolving loan fund). The cost of the preliminary services, Crosson noted, depends on the financing route the district takes. If it goes with bonds, costs will range from $12,000-$20,000. If it goes with a loan, costs will range from $40,000-$60,000. HISID will most likely vote on this agreement as well April 26.

    HISID will hold its business meeting Monday, April 26, at 9 a.m. at the district office.

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