The city commission voted not to renew the agreement with the current course operator and to give notice that it would end the lease at the end of 2019, even though it was not set to expire in 2020. The vote did reflect a desire to give current operator Randy Hodge time to try to find partners to help keep the course open.
The Aztec (N.M.) Municipal Golf Course could close at the end of the year unless a new manager can be found to lease the course, the Farmington (N.M.) Daily Times reported.
C&RB reported last year on how city officlals had first tried to improve the course’s performance through new management (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/aztec-n-m-municipal-gc-tabs-ty-ried-new-gm/) but then had second thoughts about its direction (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/aztec-n-m-reassessing-decision-to-save-closed-golf-club/).
On March 19, the Daily Times reported, the Aztec City Commission voted unanimously not to renew the operating agreement with course operator Randy Hodge and to end the lease of the golf course at the end of 2019.
While the golf course lease expires in 2020, the city can end the lease at any time if it gives 90 days notice, the Daily Times reported. At the March 19 meeting, the City Commission had the choice of closing the course within 90 days, keeping it open until the end of the year, or entering into a new operator contract and keeping the course open.
The city has leased the course since 2015 in an effort to keep it open for community members to use, the Daily Times reported. It became a controversial issue when the course failed to make a profit or break even. During the first year of operation, the city transferred $95,000 from other funds to pay for maintenance and operation of the course.
The city entered into a contract with Hodge in 2016. At the time, the estimated cost for closing the course was $148,000, while keeping it open with Hodge operating it would cost the city $117,000 over the course of the three-year contract, according to the Daily Times.
In making its latest decision, the Daily Times reported, the commissioners expressed hope that keeping the course open until the end of this year will give Hodge the chance to find partners that could take over management of the course from the city.
“There’s lots going on, and Mr. Hodge is working really hard to try to find new partners and keep it open,” Commissioner Roslyn Fry said.
Keeping the course open, Fry added, will also allow scheduled tournaments and activities to take place this year, including allowing the Aztec High School golf teams to use the course.
“The bottom line is we entered into the agreement and there are people counting on us to see it through,” said Mayor Victor Snover.
Keeping the course open through the end of the year buys time to find another way of keeping it operating while not putting “the city on the hook for it,” Snover added.
“I still believe it’s a very worthwhile endeavor for our community,” said Commissioner Sherri Sipe.