The City Council on Tuesday approved a $1 million loan to the city-owned DeBell Golf Course and agreed to defer loan payments on $2.1 million in outstanding debt for two years as the troubled course tries to recover from a drop in revenue.
The council also set aside $1 million as a possible cushion for the cash-strapped golf course, bringing the total package $2 million — far more than the roughly $567,000 in proposed cuts to public services as City Hall works to close a projected $8.7-million budget gap for next fiscal year. Those cuts include shaving around-the-clock firefighter staffing from 37 to 36, holding off on planned library improvements and reducing city youth jobs by roughly half.
City parks officials said the loan was needed to pull the golf course out of $718,215 operating deficit and no reserves brought on by a severe drop in the number of rounds being played, which hit an all-time low last fiscal year at 56,397. In 2001-02, the course registered 75,723 rounds of golf.