State Representative Kay Christofferson, R-Lehi, is working on legislation that would call upon the state to privatize the operations of four golf courses: Soldier Hollow Golf Course, Wasatch Mountain Golf Course, Palisade State Park Golf Course, and Green River Golf Course. Christofferson contends that by contracting out the management of the courses, the state might be able to recoup some of the money lost on the properties.
Utah State Representative Kay Christofferson, R-Lehi, is working on legislation that would call upon the state to privatize the operations of the state’s four golf courses, the Provo (Utah) Daily Herald reported.
“Why are we competing against people that provide that service? Let’s put it out for a [proposal] and see if we can get somebody to operate this privately,” said Christofferson.
Currently, the state of Utah owns and operates Soldier Hollow Golf Course and Wasatch Mountain Golf Course, both in Midway, Palisade State Park Golf Course in Sterling, and Green River Golf Course in Green River, the Herald reported.
Christofferson’s bill wouldn’t call for the sale of the golf courses but would call upon the state to contract with a private management company to operate and maintain the courses, the Herald reported.
According to a 2012 State Parks Report on the golf courses, the state golf system ran in the red to the tune of $1.2 million. The system made $3.3 million in revenue and had only $2.7 million in operating expenses, but debt from bonds taken out to improve the courses racked up to $1.3 million, pushing the system into the red and costing Utah taxpayers money to subsidize the courses, the Herald reported.
By contracting out the management of the courses the state might be able to recoup some of the money lost on the courses, the Herald reported.
The Utah Taxpayer’s Association is favorable to the legislation. Royce Van Tassell, vice president of the association, said it boggles his mind that taxpayers are subsidizing rounds of golf in the state, the Herald reported.
Utah could put together an attractive offer for golf course management companies to run the four courses that could prove to be beneficial to the state and to the management companies, Van Tassell said. The only opposition he could see to the proposal is some may worry about the state jobs that may be lost, the Herald reported.
“We are thrilled that he has taken this bull by the horns,” said Van Tassell.
Christofferson is running this legislation this year to learn more about the process and then plans to look at other areas of state government in the future, the Herald reported.
“I’ve been in private industry my whole professional career, I’ve seen the free market forces in work there,” Christofferson said. “I’ve seen the competitive value of companies going after the same work and how that produces more innovation, reduces costs, increases quality and usually reduces the schedule of activity as well. I’ve thought we need to apply that to our government.”
The bill is expected to be taken up in the upcoming 2014 legislative session. The session is set to begin on January 27 and will run for 45 days, the Herald reported.