MODESTO — Modesto officials will discuss today bringing in another private company to manage its Dryden and Creekside golf courses, which have been a financial drain on the city's stressed general fund budget.
City officials are recommending that Modesto go with a proposal from Valley Crest, the company that maintains the city's golf courses. Valley Crest is proposing to partner with Kemper Sports, a golf course management firm, to run Dryden and Creekside.
City officials will talk about the proposal at the City Council's Finance Committee meeting today. Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Director Julie Hannon is asking the committee to recommend the proposal to the full council, which could take up the matter Sept. 10.
Modesto hired FM Golf on July 1, 2012, to run Creekside and Dryden. As part of the agreement, FM Golf agreed to limit the general fund subsidy to the city's golf fund to $250,000 and reimburse the city for any amount above that.
A city report states that Modesto provided a $522,552 subsidy to the golf fund in the fiscal year that ended June 30.
The courses have required more general fund support in recent years because of a decline in golf play and revenue.
Modesto gave FM Golf six months' notice in April that it was canceling its contract. FM Golf is run by Sue Fiscoe, the city's longtime golf professional.
Hannon's report states that while the details have not been completed, Valley Crest is proposing a two-year contract with potential extensions. As part of the deal, the city would not pay more than the $1.6 million it now pays Valley Crest for golf maintenance.
Hannon said Valley Crest and Kemper expect to reduce the general fund subsidy by $100,000 in their first year to roughly $422,000.
Hannon referred questions on how this could be achieved to Kemper and Valley Crest. But she said Valley Crest is motivated to keep the city's business and the deal is in the companies' long-term interest.
Her report states that Valley Crest approached the city with the proposal.
Valley Crest and Kemper officials could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
Valley Crest also maintains the city's third golf course, the nine-hole Modesto Municipal Golf Course. That course is managed by the youth golf nonprofit organization The First Tee and the Del Rio Foundation.
Kemper Sports has experience with municipal golf courses. It manages Stockton's Swenson Park and Van Buskirk golf courses, according to that city's website.
Modesto contacted about a half-dozen golf management companies after it gave notice to FM Golf. City officials say Modesto's other options are to solicit proposals from other management firms or have city staff run the two courses.
Hannon and officials with Valley Crest and Kemper Sports could not be reached Monday afternoon.
In addition to the golf courses, Finance Committee members will discuss spending priorities for a proposed sales tax increase on the November ballot. The city intends to spend half on public safety, a quarter on roads, a tenth on increasing reserves and the rest on economic development and parks and recreation.
The Finance Committee meets at 5 p.m. in room 2005, Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2316.