Aztec commission talks future of golf course

Joshua Kellogg
Rod Wimsatt tees off Nov. 3 at the Hidden Valley Golf Course in Aztec.

AZTEC — The members of the Aztec City Commission spent most of its Tuesday work session discussing the financial condition of the Hidden Valley Golf Course and what kind of asset the course is to the community.

During the work session, commissioners discussed whether the golf course should be viewed as a business or a service for Aztec and  San Juan County residents.

“That’s one of the things we struggle with,” Mayor Sally Burbidge said following the work session. “Is it purely to make money or is it more that we are working to provide a service to our citizens in the city and surrounding county?"

Mayor Pro-tem Sherri Sipe said she viewed the golf course as a “quality of life” service and the cost might be worth it to maintain such a community asset.

“We can make (the golf course) pay for itself,” Sipe said.

City Manager Joshua Ray provided numbers on golf course revenues between March and Dec. 31. Ray said the information would help the commissioners make a decision in the future about continuing to operate the course.

The revenue summary states the golf course made $187,602 in total revenue during that time period last year, according to the report. Ray said the annual budget approved for the course was $445,000.

The largest source of revenue was $83,450 from 4,606 rounds of golf played. Golf cart rentals accounted for $36,923.

A total of 102 player memberships and 30 golf cart memberships were sold last year. The player memberships brought in $34,500 and golf cart memberships generated $11,000.

However, the course is operating at a loss.

Commissioner Katee McClure said she had issues with the course because a preliminary budget projected a loss of about $3,000 when the golf course is currently operating with a $95,000 deficit requiring the city to transfer money from other funds to the course.

During a special meeting on Dec. 21, the commission approved transferring $35,000 from the electric utility fund to the golf course fund.

Ray said he was optimistic about the upcoming budget because the golf course added corporate memberships this month and already has $17,750 in revenue from the sale of those memberships to companies.

McClure asked Ray to revise the preliminary budget using the membership information from the revenue report to produce a more viable proposal. She added that she wanted to ensure commissioners are informed if it's projected to run a larger deficit.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.