116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - A senior position in the Cedar Rapids is being cut as the city works toward solvency of the golf department.
The golf superintendent position will be eliminated effective Oct. 24. It is the latest step in the city's effort to balance an annual golf deficit averaging $340,000 in recent years.
'This is in response to close that gap and make golf stronger with four courses,” said Lisa Miller, director of golf operations.
The City Council previously rejected the staff's top recommendation, which was to close Jones Golf Course, after public outcry, forcing staff to take other budgetary actions.
The Jones course loses the most money.
Tuesday's vote, which received no discussion during the council's regular meeting, will save the city $84,000 per year, according to city officials.
This still leaves a large gap to be filled by the general fund.
'It's now a matter of controlling your costs, and this is one way to do it,” Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett said after the meeting.
The golf structure includes Miller at the top as director. Under her are five superintendents and three golf pros on one level, and below them are three assistant golf pros.
The golf department will retain the head superintendent positions at each of the city's four publicly operated courses: Gardner, Twin Pines, Ellis and Jones.
The superintendent position being eliminated served as a roamer between the four courses and backup when someone was out, Miller said. The remaining superintendents will absorb the duties of the eliminated position after a review, she said.
Gail Loskill, a spokeswoman for the city's parks and recreation department, said she could not identify the person being let go since there's a civil service process 'that may impact who is ultimately affected.”
Additional cost saving measures and efforts to generate revenue, such as discontinuing apparel at the pro shops, not filling the vacant golf pro position at Jones, and beefing up marketing through social media, have been occurring and will continue in an attempt to balance the budget, Miller and Loskill said.
The department has borrowed more than $2 million from the general fund over time to cover losses. City officials vowed to correct golf department finances after being criticized in a 2015 annual audit.
An internal review of the department listed alternatives to closing Jones, including privatizing golf operations; selling Gardner to Linn County; selling three acres, half or all of Twin Pines for private development, while retaining some portion for a park or golf course; closing Ellis and converting it to parkland; and eliminating positions, including golf division manager, golf superintendent and the half-time customer service representative.
The City Council asked staff to explore privatization, but that has not yet been pursued as the city seeks a new director of parks and recreation. Previous director Sven Leff, who pushed for the Jones closure plan, resigned over the summer.
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