A drive to discount fees for senior citizens who play the Murray Parkway Golf Course wound up in the rough Tuesday night as the City Council stymied the proposal with a 2-3 vote.
Councilman John Rush proposed an ordinance reducing fees for seniors, saying many of Murray's older residents who have "lived their lives here and have literally built this city from the ground up" are now on fixed incomes and deserve a break on fees.He also said the city's golf course is making about a quarter of a million annually in profits and won't miss any minor revenue losses that might result from giving a senior discount.
Apparently quoting from one of Utah's best-known senior citizens, the oatmeal-hawking Wilford Brimley, Rush said the ordinance "is the right thing to do."
Councilman John Ward, who cast the other supporting vote, called the discount "an act of good faith" with seniors and agreed with Rush that "the financial impact of this fee reduction will be negligible, if anything.
He noted the proposed discount would be for people 62 years and older and would be offered Monday through Wednesday only, excluding holidays.
One of the complaints he frequently heard on the campaign trail last fall, Ward added, was from residents who wondered why Murray won't provide discount golf fees for seniors while other Salt Lake Valley communities do.
Councilman Wendell Coombs, who observed he's one of those senior residents who would qualify for the discount, disagreed.
"Why should we start something everybody else is trying to get rid of?" he asked, contending other municipal courses are trying to abolish fees for seniors.
Coombs also said he questions giving one group of Murray residents special financial treatment without a corresponding benefit to non-golfers.
"I have heartburn with someone who owns a $1,500 set of golf clubs wanting a discount," the councilman added.
Council Chairman Leon Robertson said he voted against the discount because he's concerned about overusing one of the busiest golf courses in Utah.
He also said the city's Parks Advisory Board agrees discount rates for seniors should not be adopted by the council.
Councilman Gary Ferrero cast the third vote against Rush's motion for a discount but did not elaborate.
Rush said after the meeting he may bring up the proposed discount again at a later date.