The Union County Budget Committee anticipated discussing Buffalo Peak Golf Course, which has been a main focus in the county’s budget deliberations over the past several years. This year was no different.

However, unlike previous years, there is some good news, according to Union County Administrative Officer Shelley Burgess. Burgess presented the golf course’s budget on the first night of the two-night meeting process that goes through all the departments’ budgets in the county.

Burgess said the county took to heart what the committee said last year about the golf course continuing to be a problem and trying to figure out how to fix it.

“The county had a community meeting,” said Burgess, referring to the meeting held in Union regarding the future of the golf course. “We posed the question of whether the community viewed it like an amenity.”

Burgess said it has been clear that the golf course is not able to fund itself completely. An amenity, like a library or community pool, does not support itself fully either but seems to be a popular part of a community.

A previously disbanded golf committee was reinstated over the last year and has been meeting regularly to discuss changes that need to be made.

Burgess said the county has reviewed the expenses of the course and reduced the costs as much as possible without impacting the course’s service.

A $10,000 investment in the clubhouse was made to give it a facelift, she said.

They also implemented Twilight rates, which has been successful so far, and increased the season pass rate.

“It’s nothing huge, but these will help in the financial picture,” Burgess said. “We have made a lot of
efforts to generate revenue.”

In the new fiscal year, the projected revenue is $554,000, which is consistent to last year’s revenue. Budget Committee Member Stacey Candish said she felt better about the golf course’s budget.

“It’s the best I’ve ever seen it,” she said.

Despite the budget looking better, it’s still reporting a deficit.

The total debt owed for the course is $955,701. Burgess said that number should begin going down after this year. The county will make a $120,000 payment toward the loan this year.

See complete story in Friday's Observer