The first Monticello City Council meeting of the new year began on January 9 with the swearing-in of Tim Young as mayor and George Rice and Bayley Hedglin as members of the city council.
The Council was called upon to consider amending the Hideout Golf Course fees to attempt to lessen the yearly financial shortfall and make the Hideout rates more competitive with other courses.
The Hideout Golf Course has an estimated annual financial shortfall of $100,000. The golf course has not had a rate increase in at least five years.
Proposed increases are $3 for 18 holes, $2 for nine holes, $25 for a season pass, and $1 for an 18-hole cart fee.
Councilwoman Hedglin asked if the Golf Advisory Committee had any recommendations to review prior to discussing the increase. She was informed the committee had been dissolved.
Councilman Nathan Chamberlain explained that the committee was dissolved because there was little interest, and they had no authority.
Craig Leavitt, a local resident and avid golfer, voiced his concern that although the Golf Committee had been dissolved, the regulations that had passed were still binding.
Leavitt pointed out that the Golf Committee had authority to act because the committee had included three standing members of the City Council, so items decided in the meetings could be binding.
Leavitt asked if there are numbers to justify increasing the fees, expressing concern that increases may discourage golfers from coming to the course.
City Manager Doug Wright outlined that city does not have the numbers to make that analysis, but that issue should be resolved with new accounting software.
Leavitt suggested that other areas could be considered to reduce the yearly deficit at the course.
He suggested an accounting of the large number of free games the city distributes and gifts to employees, visitors, students, coaches etc. He suggested adjusting the methods of advertising.
Mayor Young recommended the council hold a work meeting where those involved could have an in-depth discussion to resolve these issues.
Other issues brought before the Council included new city welcome signs.
Carol Van Steeter, of the Beautification Committee, reported on the Council request for new “Welcome to Monticello” signs.
The Committee presented visuals of signs by other cities, technical suggestions and a few possible designs for the Council to use in generating ideas.
The Council held public hearings regarding land and easement transfers through quick claim deed to resolve issues previously presented. The Council approved the transfers.
A new City Council meeting schedule was also approved where there will be one meeting per month. It will be held on the second Tuesday each month.
City Manager Wright had several items for the Council. He requested permission to pursue a grant to obtain snow removal equipment as part of the city airport five-year rotational plan. The Council agreed.
Wright also relayed that a city lease program for a backhoe has expired. It was recommended the city purchase a used backhoe for snow removal and city work projects.
The funds for this equipment have already been budgeted. The backhoe was approved.
The Council will revisit the city ordinance regarding shipping container size and zoning eligibility.
The Council approved the possible selling of the final parcel in the industrial park through the RFP process.
Mayor Young ended the meeting paying tribute to Sanford Randall who, until his recent passing, was a member of the council.
Young said Randall was wise, thoughtful and will be remembered for his impact on many individuals.
The vacated seat will be advertised and a city resident will fill the unexpired position.