Golf course hailed in budget talks as a Joplin asset | Local News

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One of Joplin’s most criticized assets, the Schifferdecker Golf Course, received praise and appreciation Wednesday night during a review of projects in the city government’s budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

The discussions took place during the second of three nights of council’s review of the city’s nearly $150 million budget which, following council’s final review next month, is expected to come into effect early in the year. fiscal year of the city on November 1.

In addition to an outlook on expected revenues and a spending plan, the budget is also a policy document that sets the city’s course for the year and the work that city departments will do to maintain and improve properties and city ​​services.

Budget figures project the golf course’s revenue to be approximately $914,300 with expenses of $891,496.

Leslie Haase, the city’s chief financial officer, said fees charged for golf cover expenses and money to pay for capital projects at the course is transferred from the general fund. She said the transfer this year will be around $171,000, which is the lowest in several years. Last year it was $195,500; in 2021, it was $318,000.

These capital costs and the use of general funds for them have been criticized by some at public meetings in recent years, although all commercial activities in the city receive funding of varying amounts for capital projects.

When discussing park plans for the coming fiscal year in a presentation by parks director Paul Bloomberg, he said the course’s 100th anniversary was celebrated there this summer. Plans are planned for next year to begin paving half of the course’s trails, continued grass planting to achieve green grass where the course’s existing Bermuda grass is not green, repairing the drainage on certain holes and removing dead trees.

“Golfers will be super happy when it’s done,” Bloomberg said of the work. The course is seeing the most rounds of play since 2011, and this year will hit 26,000 rounds.

Board member Josh DeTar said he’s played the course several times “and it’s a beautiful course,” especially with the trees on it.

“I think a lot of people talk about the golf course, but this course offers a lot to a lot of people, and I will play it again and again,” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Keenan Cortez praised course staff, the parks department and other city employees for their work in improving conditions on the course.

“It’s needed in a city the size of ours” and it’s a piece of equipment sought by business and industry, he said.

Councilman Phil Stinnett, who like Cortez and DeTar is a golfer, said community historian Brad Belk wrote a series of Joplin Globe columns about the golf course and its history. It has been played by many personalities, he said. It is also the home of the Ozark Amateur Golf Tournament, played this year for the 74th time.

“The Ozark Amateur is the oldest tournament held west of the Mississippi, so it has a history,” he said.

By paving the cart paths, “it will really be the crème de la crème, so to speak,” he added.

Says Bloomberg, “The golf course has been scrutinized and always criticized as a drain on city resources, but as Mr. Cortez said, it’s one of those things like swimming pools. If you have pools, the community is better. If you have a museum that brings history to life, that’s another quality of life issue.

“You have parks and recreation programs, and our parks here and the golf course is another element. People don’t understand how parks are an economic engine for the community.

Budget talks will resume at 5:45 p.m. Thursday with the economic development services contract between the city and the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce on the agenda.

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