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AZTEC — The Aztec Municipal Golf Course could close at the end of the year unless a new manager can be found to lease the course.

On Tuesday, the City Commission unanimously voted not to renew the operating agreement with course operator Randy Hodge and to end the lease of the golf course at the end of this year.

The golf course lease expires in 2020, however the city can end the lease at any time if it gives a 90-day notice.

The City Commission had the choice of closing the course within 90 days, keeping it open until the end of the year or entering into a new operator contract and keeping the course open.

The city has leased the course since 2015 in an effort to keep it open for community members to use. It became a controversial issue when the course failed to make a profit or break even. During the first year of operation, the city transferred $95,000 from other funds to pay for maintenance and operation of the course.

The city entered into a contract with Hodge in 2016. At the time, the estimated cost for closing the course was $148,000 while keeping it open with Hodge operating it would cost the city $117,000 over the course of the three year contract, according to The Daily Times archives.

The commissioners expressed hope that keeping the course open until the end of this year will allow Hodge the chance to find partners that could take over management of the golf course from the city.

“There’s lots going on and Mr. Hodge is working really hard to try to find new partners and keep it open,” Commissioner Roslyn Fry said.

She said keeping it open will also allow the scheduled tournaments and activities to take place this year, including allowing the high school golf team to use the course.

“The bottom line is we entered into the agreement and there are people counting on us to see it through,” Mayor Victor Snover said.

He said keeping it open through the end of the year buys time to find another way of keeping the course going that does not put “the city on the hook for it.”

“I still believe it’s a very worthwhile endeavor for our community,” Commissioner Sherri Sipe said.

The Course: Aztec faces decision on future of golf course

Related: Meetings roundup: Guns, golf course among topics on this week's agendas

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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