Sparks: Impact of golf course outweighs loss

A $190,000 operating loss is projected in the Atchafalaya Golf Course at Idlewild’s next fiscal year budget that begins on Oct. 1.

But golf course commission chairman Rudy Sparks told the St. Mary Parish Council Wednesday that the economic impact to the parish outweighs the continued operating loss.

The course located just outside of Patterson south of U.S. 90 has been in operation since 2006.

Sparks said the commission estimates that based on revenue the course generated about $91,000 in sales taxes back to local government this year.

In the past year, he said, tournament players on the course spent 288 nights in the parish and there were 1,564 day trips to St. Mary by tournament golfers equating to $208,000 into the local economy.

“With respect to green fee play we estimate that at about 600 overnight stays (had) a total estimated economic impact of about $550,000,” he said.

There also were some 18 tournaments that generated $180,000 for local charities, he added.

Also, he said, the course provides nine full-time jobs, and 40 part-time, temporary and contract jobs for a total $1 million payroll.

“Please keep in mind … that we’re creating jobs both full-time and part-time and bringing people in from outside of St. Mary Parish that are leaving dollars here in our community,” he said.

Of the golf commission, Sparks said, “We are all extremely concerned with this cash position and we’re doing everything we can to improve on it. We’ve come a long way but we’re not where we need to be yet.”

Councilmen Steve Bierhorst, District 10, and Logan Fromenthal, District 6, both commended the hard work of the commission.

Responding to a suggestion by Councilman David Hanagriff, District 3, Sparks agreed to ask the commission to look into private management of the club.

The council approved the club’s 2012-2013 proposed budget with latitude to adjust green fees as needed.

In other business the council:

—Told Melvin Charles Willis Sr. of 1007 Chitimacha Trail, Baldwin, that the administration will attempt to determine if his home based mechanic work falls into grandfather status. Willis had received a cease and desist letter from the Planning and Zoning Office for operating in a mixed residential zone.

—Adopted a proposed ordinance amending the council’s current fiscal year budget.

—Introduced ordinances authoring the refinancing of $2.4 million in solid waste bonds secured by the three-quarter percent sales tax; and granting a specific use variance to erect a communications tower at 299 Grandwood St., Patterson.

—Passed resolutions authorizing applications to the Governor’s Local Government Assistance Program for construction of sidewalks along Lake Palourde Road in Amelia from Aucoin to Waterworks roads; purchase of a used fire truck for St. Joseph-Gumpoint fire sub-station; construction of sidewalks along Cypremort Road between La. 318 and Big Four Corners Road; construction of a water line along La. 318 in Sorrel to connect Water and Sewer Districts 4 and 5; and construction of a fire line in Siracusaville for Water and Sewer District 1.

—Passed resolutions authorizing a certificate of substantial completion on the re-roofing project at the parish-owned Whitney Building in Morgan City; a contract with R&S Corp. on the security system at the Law Enforcement Center; an amendment to the engineering services agreement with Shaw Coastal Inc. for the Point Cheveruil shoreline protection project and the Deer Island realignment project; and a certificate of substantial completion on the Cajun Way Road project in Amelia.

—Approved requests for funding transfers by Councilman Charles Middleton, District 2, for $2,000 to the Town of Baldwin for Pee Wee Football from the Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10 three-tenths sales tax fund; and by Councilman Sterling Fryou, District 8, for $500 from the gaming fund to the Berwick Housing Authority for its “Night Out Against Crime” on Oct. 2.

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