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Anaheim Expected to Keep Control of 2 Golf Courses : Privatization: Proposal by company to take over links seems headed for defeat as a consultant’s report sways council.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A controversial proposal to privatize the operation of the city’s two municipal golf courses is expected to go down in defeat Tuesday, ending an emotional debate that has raged for months.

Mayor Tom Daly and Councilman Irv Pickler, who had favored the idea, said Friday that they intend to vote against the proposal by American Golf Corp. to operate H.G. (Dad) Miller and Anaheim Hills golf courses.

“At this time, I see no long-term benefit in accepting the private offer,” Daly said. “The offer on the table is good, but not good enough.”

American Golf’s proposal to operate golf courses would bring an estimated $85,000 to city coffers annually for 20 years.

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The private contractor would make about $2 million worth of improvements to the irrigation systems at the courses and would pay rent of $1.6 million per year.

Councilmen Fred Hunter and Bob Simpson have opposed the move, while Daly, Pickler and Councilman Frank Feldhaus have favored it. Feldhaus could not be reached Friday.

The council postponed a vote on the issue on Tuesday to give the city’s Budget Advisory Commission a chance to review an independent report by KPMG Peat Marwick Management Consultants on the pros and cons of the idea. On Thursday, the commission met and unanimously voted against it, chairwoman Shirley McCracken said.

The committee agreed with city analysts, who said the financial benefits are minimal and do not justify the risk of losing control over the courses.

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Daly said the independent report gave him and other council members their first chance to fairly evaluate the proposal. The study was ordered in June following conflicting testimony over how much revenue a private contractor could bring to the city.

“I think the cost-benefits study makes a convincing case that a private operator would probably increase the city’s revenues in the short run but could limit the amount potential income in the long run,” Daly said.

In addition to financial concerns, Pickler said he made his decision out of loyalty to the 25 full-time and 40 part-time workers at the golf courses who would no longer work for the city. Although American Golf has stated that those employees would be rehired, there is no guarantee that it would be at the same wage.


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