Golf course contract includes big changes

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – A new golf course maintenance contract could mean big changes to the city.

Councilors Monday approved a contract with Davey Golf for maintenance of Wyandotte Shores Golf Course, a step necessary after the fall retirement of former Greens Keeper Dian O’Donnell, who since 2003 maintained the grounds on a part-time basis for $8,496 a year.

The new contract requires an increase to the budget of $27,150 to help fund the five-year contract – set to begin this year at $164,000 per year and run through 2017 at $170,000 – as well as several structural changes, including that all golf maintenance employees will switch from being employed by the city to being employed by Davey Golf.

Other golf course employees, including pro shop and concession areas, will remain city employees.

The approval was pending further investigation into the contract by City Attorney William Look, who brought up one sticking point in the contract: The Recreation Commission interprets the contract as allowing the city a 60-day notice to terminate the contract at any time.

Look said he sees it differently, saying he interpreted the contract to mean that Davey may give 60 days notice to break the contract at any time, but the city must wait until after the initial five years, at which point the contract automatically renews but the city may break it with 60 days notice.

“If the 60 days isn’t a part of it, then the whole thing gets stopped,” Councilman Larry Stec said.

Another issue was that Davey asked for pollution coverage, an area officials are not sure their insurance includes. Look is to investigate both aspects before the contract goes into effect.

The city looked into collaborations with other municipal golf courses in Southgate and Riverview for shared services of maintenance but those talks recently fell through as both cities did not think their crews could handle both jobs in the manner to which golf course users are accustomed, City Administrator Todd Drysdale said.

With golf season set to begin as soon as spring weather moves in, those failed talked somewhat derailed the timeline recreation officials had hoped for.

“We thought we had gone down a few collaborations that had fallen apart due to one reason or another,” Drysdale said. “So this really is our best option and its a very good option.”

The increased cost will still result in a savings of $13,000 to the general fund, as Department of Public Services crews will no longer be needed at the course.