Reviewing what some consider the unpleasant issue of raising golf fees, the Salt Lake City Council revised a recently passed ordinance, prompting one member to scold the council for not being "fiscally responsible."
In January, the council raised golf pass fees for juniors and seniors from $175 to $400, while regular fees increased from $300 to $500 for a season of golfing at the city's six courses.Tuesday, the council reviewed the ordinance - necessary to repay a bond for two new golf courses - to clean up some language in the law, such as changing the date for a fee change from the fiscal to the calendar year.
But Councilman Tom Godfrey, who supported eliminating passes, told the council that retaining them was only "passing the buck to a future council," which will likely have to eliminate passes and suffer the political consequences.
And if past public hearings where citizens harangued the council for threatening senior citizens' access to golf are any indication of the unpleasantness of that prospect, future councils won't appreciate the opportunity.
Doing away with passes will be necessary because the current fee structure will result in a $540,000 golf-fund deficit to pay off the bonds for new courses at the Salt Lake International Airport and Mountain Dell in 1991, Godfrey said.
Eliminating the passes will translate into boosting fees per round of golf to an "exorbitant" level that would prohibit play and further jeopardize golf-fund revenue.
"I would say that we as a council have to act somewhat fiscally responsible," Godfrey told the council. He urged the council to defeat the ordinance but lost the 5-2 vote.
In another fee ordinance amendment sponsored by Councilman Alan Hardman, the council took away free golf passes for the city's Golf Advisory Board.
"As far as I know, the only people golfing free . . . are the seven members of the Golf Advisory Board," Hardman said.
"For me the isssue is one of fairness," Hardman said in proposing taking the passes away.