Aztec commission to discuss golf course Monday

Hannah Grover

FARMINGTON — After more than a year of managing the municipal golf course, the city of Aztec is debating whether to continue with the venture.

Pete McKinnon aims a shot for the green during a round Thursday at the Aztec municipal golf course.

The Aztec City Commission will discuss the future of the Aztec Municipal Golf Course at Hidden Valley during a special workshop at 5 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 201 W. Chaco Ave.

City Manager Josh Ray said the course cost $33,000 to operate in July and brought in $30,000 in revenue. He said the $3,000 difference in spending and revenue was due to equipment purchases.

The city took over management of the golf course in 2014 after the owner announced it would close. In 2015, the commission transferred $35,000 from the electric utility fund to the golf course and at the end of the fiscal year 2016, the city had to transfer another $65,000 to the course to cover the operating costs. City Finance Director Kathy Lamb told commissioners during a meeting July 26 that having a negative cash balance in the golf course fund could cause the New Mexico Finance Authority not to approve the city's fiscal year 2017 budget.

"I'd say walk away now," Commissioner Katee McClure said about the possibility of the city continuing to manage the course when reached by phone Friday.

McClure said the city's finances are too shaky to continue spending money on the course.

Dan Komko chips his ball on the green Thursday during a round at the Aztec municipal golf course.

"There's other things that I think the city of Aztec should spend its money on," she said.

McClure has been critical of the course's finances since the commission approved transferring $35,000 to the course last year.

During a commission meeting in July, McClure voted against budget adjustments for the end of fiscal year 2016 because they included a $65,000 transfer to the golf course. On Friday, McClure said she is less concerned with the finance authority not approving the city's budget than she is with "bleeding money into something that ... will never break even."

She said she is looking forward to seeing the financial report the city staff prepared for the commission to discuss on Monday. Ray said the report details the revenues and expenditures at the course, as well as how many people are using it.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.