The Neosho City Council voted on first reading Tuesday evening to adjust the golf course budget for fiscal year 2013 to reflect the transition from a contractor managed course to a city-run operation.
The adjustment reflects a $29,700.18 decrease.
Among the changes are the addition of $54,400 for golf salaries for three full-time employees, $75,000 for 10 part-time employees, $400 for cell phone allowance, $9,899.10 for social security, $5,004.80 for retirement, $9,150 for health insurance, $4,179.62 for workers compensation, and a $4,495 transfer from the general fund.
The adjustment also includes a decrease of $128,333.34, for the remainder of the city’s contract with current golf course manager Justin Beck.
Beck submitted his 90-day notice to the city in mid-November and is expected to work through the end of February.
The updated budget would reflect the city’s expenses at the golf course from Feb. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2013.
Troy Royer, Neosho city manager, told council members Tuesday that, though the city has not formally posted the full-time positions, the positions are already generating interest.
“We’ve had quite a bit of interest in it,” Royer said. “We’ve been receiving stuff even though we don’t have the job description done yet. I’ve got a couple interested in the superintendent/management position and I’ve got a couple interested in the two positions under him.”
Royer said the city is currently working on writing those job descriptions.
He said Beck’s current part-time employees would also need to reapply for their jobs before working for the city.
“They’d be a new hire March 1,” Royer said. “I met with Justin (Beck) last week and extensively went over every employee he has and what their position is, what they get paid, just to kind of get an idea to make sure we aren’t out of line, or to make sure we weren’t reducing their pay to come over here.”
The council will take up the golf course adjustments once more in their Jan. 8 council meeting.
Council gave Royer the OK to pursue a city-run operation in their Dec. 4 meeting.
Royer said having a city-run versus contractor-run course will give the city more control over the employees and operations at the 18-hole course.
The council had considered the idea of a city-run course as recently as August, while in budget talks, however, they had opted to stick with contracted services at that time.
Beck was receiving $220,000 annually from the city to run the golf course, which included labor expenses and incidentals.
While the councilmen have expressed support for the transition to a city-run course, a few members have also emphasized the importance of making top-notch hires for the new golf course positions.
Page 2 of 2 - “I just want to make sure that we get a good greenskeeper,” said councilman Tom Workman. “Justin’s done a good job this year bringing it back, we don’t want to lose that. If we have to pay a little extra to keep a good greenskeeper I would rather see that than to lose it and start over.”
The city’s takeover of the course could also have an impact on the city’s Parks, Recreation and Golf Course board.
The board, created to seat nine members, was downsized to seven members Tuesday evening on a final vote from council members, following the board’s struggles to achieve a quorum at recent meetings.
The now seven-member board could potentially lose two members, Pat Meredith and Gary Elam, both current golf course employees, if the two continue to work at the golf course following the change in management.
Royer said city employees may not serve on a city board, and would have to choose between the city position or the position on the board.
For more on Tuesday evening’s Neosho City Council meeting, see Thursday’s edition of the Neosho Daily News.