The City of Hesperia is considering the formation of a Community Facilities District, the Hesperia Golf Course CFD, to assist with the funding of improvements, maintenance, and operations of the Hesperia Golf Course. The 18-hole 211-acre golf course opened in 1957 and was privately owned and operated until 2010 when the former Hesperia Community Redevelopment Agency purchased it to prevent the property from becoming blighted and run-down. Ownership of the golf course was transferred to the City upon dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency. Public outreach conducted by the City, including public meetings, a survey, and a feasibility study, found overwhelming community support to continue operations of the golf course and thus the City negotiated an agreement with the Hesperia Recreation and Park District to maintain and operate the golf course. The City's General Fund has effectively subsidized management and operational deficits incurred by the Rec and Park District in the range of $135,000 to $189,000 per year. The agreement expired in September 2019.
The infrastructure for the golf course and clubhouse is mostly the same as when constructed in 1957. The following improvements are needed:
- Repair the aesthetic lakes on the course.
- Overhaul and modernize the irrigation system.
- Renovate the clubhouse, including replacement of the roof.
- Repair the parking lot.
- Replace air conditioning units.
- Replace beverage coolers.
The golf course will benefit from 10 miles of pipeline recently completed by the Hesperia Water District to connect the golf course to the Hesperia Sub-regional Water Reclamation Plant.
Golf Course Operations
The Rec and Park District indicated that they were no longer interested in operating the golf course and only one proposal was received in response to a Request for Proposals issued by the City in March 2019. As such the City entered into negotiations with Donovan Bros, the sole respondent. Donovan Bros has over 35 years of experience in the management and ownership of golf courses in the Southern California area and provided management of the Hesperia Golf Course in the early 2000s.
Donovan Bros has recommended specific steps to attract more players on a frequent basis to the golf course by improving course maintenance for dramatic improvement in the quality of the green and general upkeep within the first 45 days. Improving course maintenance includes:
- The fertilizing, top-dress, and aerifying of the greens.
- Repairing mowers and turf equipment.
- Improving food and beverage options.
- Developing and rehabilitation of the driving range.
- Increasing marketing efforts.
Important: Formation of a Community Facilities District must be approved by the affected voters. The City can't form a Community Facilities District without voter approval.
Hesperia Golf Course CFD
The formation of a Community Facilities District, to be known as the Hesperia Golf Course CFD, has been proposed to assist the City with the funding of significant capital improvements and increased operating expenses. Immediate capital improvement needs include improvements to the irrigation system for approximately $168,000 and roof repairs and HVAC replacements for approximately $82,000. The roof is over 60-years old, in poor condition, and with a number of leaks.
The City is also required to cover operating losses estimated at $397,000 in year one decreasing to an estimated $182,000 in year five. In addition, there is an estimated $320,000 in startup costs to be incurred by the City in the first two years for the replacement of course equipment such as mowers, aerifier, and utility vehicles. In summary, the City is expected to subsidize the golf course by $1.2 million in Year 1, $1.0 million in Year 2, and an average of $750,000 in Years 3 through 5. These amounts could be partially offset by the leasing of water rights but a large subsidy from the General Fund remains.
Consequently, the City is exploring the formation of a Hesperia Golf Course CFD to provide a funding mechanism for citizens that receive the direct benefit of living near the golf course to cover a portion of the golf course operations and much-needed enhancements. Operation and maintenance of the golf course in future years could result in the depletion of General Fund reserves without the additional funding provided by the proposed Community Facilities District.
CivicMic will work with the City over the next few months, facilitating community outreach and public engagement efforts, to determine the level of public support for the proposed Hesperia Golf Course CFD.
Source: August 20, 2019 Staff Report to City Council
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