The golf course typically operates with two pumps: a 65-horsepower main pump and a 25-horsepower backup. The larger one is more than 20 years old and has been out of working order for some time.
With the advent of warmer weather, the council on Monday, March 11, decided it would be better to spend a little more than $10,000 now in order to successfully keep the golf course watered and prevent losing the greens entirely to the heat.
“I can only water about three greens at a time with that small pump,” said Rick Campbell, golf course superintendent. He noted that it can take up the majority of a 24-hour day to complete all the daily watering with only the smaller 25-horsepower pump and handheld hoses.
He fears what would happen should the greens go without water in the coming spring and summer heat, and advised that the cost to repair and re-grass the entire golf course once it has withered would be significantly greater than that cost of a pump.
Council member Wayne Swanson agreed with Campbell. “If you want to go back and re-do it (after the greens have died), it’ll cost $300,000, versus the $10,000 now.
“It’s probably something that needs to be done so we don’t risk it,” mayor Neal Florence said.
With the exception of a “no” vote from council member Ben Bradford, the city felt comfortable spending the money for the new pump, especially considering they had successfully paid off the $250,000 short-term loan taken out last month in anticipation of final grant payments. The total cost for the pump is $10,150, with no payments expected due until April.
The golf course has already seen an uptick in its memberships and expected events this year compared to 2012, with 136 members joining since Jan. 1 and approximately 55 tournaments already planned throughout the year. In contrast, the golf course only maintained 150 members throughout the entire year of 2012, and hosted fewer than the 55 tournaments to which it now looks forward.
In other city decisions, ongoing construction of new units with the LaFayette Housing Authority necessitated the purchase of six electrical transformers and associated equipment to be used to bring power to the new residences. The total cost of $21,353 is being split between city coffers and the housing authority. The city’s portion is $10,598.69.
The city also heard a request for costly repairs to the swimming pool at the recreation department, which are necessary to complete in order to open the pool to the public this summer. The minimum cost of repairs would total $19,325.
Recreation director Patti Smith recommended that all future-proofing repairs, totaling three times as much, be considered at this time, to prevent ongoing costs and repairs in the next few years. The council decided to table that issue until its next meeting, hoping in the meantime to find a less costly solution to the pool’s repair needs.