Pleasant Grove and Lehi could soon be out of the golf course business.
American Fork wants to buy out both cities' shares in the Tri-City Golf Course. Pleasant Grove City Council member Lloyd Ash says his city would consider an offer from American Fork "in a nano-second."Lehi Mayor Guy Cash says "for the right amount of money, anything is for sale."
American Fork Mayor B. Kay Hutchings will approach the two cities within the next two weeks with an offer after reviewing it with City Attorney Ray Harding Jr.
Pleasant Grove Mayor David Holdaway got the ball rolling a few weeks ago when he informed Hutchings his city wants to withdraw from the golf course. Holdaway thinks the money Pleasant Grove has invested in the course would be put to better use in building its own recreation program.
The three cities jointly opened the Tri-City Golf Course in 1973. They were supposed to share equally in the costs of operating the course and then in the profits once it began making money.
But over the years American Fork has contributed more than the other cities to the golf course's equity account, a fact which has been something of a sore spot. Pleasant Grove owes the fund $11,000 while Lehi owes $21,000. With tight budgets, neither city has had the funds to wipe out its shortfall.
Hutchings and some council members think American Fork would be better off with full control of the course, which became profitable in the past several years to the tune of about $100,000 per year.
Carl Wanlass, finance officer for American Fork, said in special session last week that, based on contributions over the years to the course and the value of its assets, American Fork would have to pay Pleasant Grove $268,000 and Lehi $254,000 to buy them out.
American Fork could borrow money for the buyout from other funds, paying it back with course profits, or authorize a revenue bond to pay for the purchase, Wanlass said.
Holdaway said the proposed offer sounded "attractive."
But Cash said he "would not recommend we sell our interest for $254,000 . . . You couldn't replace the golf course for 10 times that amount. It doesn't make sense to me to sell a third interest for only 10 percent of the value or less."
Cash thinks American Fork should have the course appraised and then offer a figure based on one third of its value, negotiating from that point.
And, if American Fork is not able to make Lehi an agreeable offer, Cash thinks both cities should buy out Pleasant Grove.
"I don't think one city can buy out another city," he said. We would have to do that jointly. I don't think we would want a one-third, two-thirds arrangement. It puts us in a minority position as far as any influence on how the course is operated. I would take a strong stand against that."
That's a point raised by American Fork council member Crosby Mecham, who said the golf course's bylaws allow a city to withdraw but don't allow one city to buy out another. He advised the city to not move "too hastily" on making offers to buy out the other cities.
If ownership of the course changes, memberships held by residents of Lehi and Pleasant Grove would not be affected and fees would remain the same for now, Hutchings said.
Which is exactly why Holdway thinks it's a good idea for Pleasant Grove to sell its one-third share.