Municipal Golf Course Lease Agreement Taken Up Again

By Betsy Finklea
The municipal golf course lease agreement was taken up again at the last regular meeting of the Dillon City Council.
City Manager Glen Wagner said the lease agreement that the council had discussed and approved the previous month had been submitted to Mr. Robert Johnson to sign. Instead of signing the agreement, he sent back some additions. The additions include the following:
The city has an option to purchase the property without a price for the property being listed. The original agreement lists the purchase price as $850,000.
A clause was to be added that the city will clean up the 28 acres along the course and the railroad tracks. Prior to the city taking over the golf course and since for about 40 years, debris from the golf course, tree limbs, pinecones, etc. have been placed there.
The city would move the #12 green so a road can be built from the clubhouse driveway to run over to the 28 acres.
Wagner said none of this was discussed originally a month ago, and he asked the council how they wanted to handle this.
City Attorney Jack McInnis said this was a substantial difference than the lease they are under now.
Mayor Todd Davis said they have been struggling financially on the golf course, but even if they were not that for the city to pay for it would be a “stickler.” He noted that this would interrupt play and everything else. He said personally that was a tough pill to swallow.
Davis said it may be a negotiation tactic, but that this was not doable from his standpoint.
Wagner asked why it was not brought up originally.
Councilman Douglas Jackson also expressed concerns about the disruption of play.
Councilman James Washington asked what the reason was for the road.
Councilman Phil Wallace said it was so the owner could get to the 28 acres and sell lots.
Davis said he did not know what other holes may be disrupted by a road. Davis said he felt they should stick to the original agreement.
Councilman Johnny Eller commented on the fact that Ronnie Carter went and did the negotiation for the City of Dillon.
Wallace said it was because Carter was close to Johnson, and they were trying to get him to come down on the price.
Eller asked if it would not be better for Johnson to come before the governing body to discuss this and how long they were going to wait on Johnson to decide. He asked if council should not make a decision to go forward or get out altogether.
Wagner said his recommendation was that the council not agree to the additional terms.
Davis agreed that they should go back to the original agreement and said they were not agreeing to the additional terms.
Wallace made a motion that they stick with the original agreement. This was seconded by Jackson. All present voted in favor except for Eller who opposed.
During council comments, Wallace said that at the last meeting Eller accused the council of turning their backs on the children and that kind of got to him.
Wallace said fundraisers held at the golf course raised $12,000 for domestic abuse victims through the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault and $27,000 for the American Red Cross Chapter for victims of house fires. Wallace told Eller that he (Eller) was turning his back on them.
He said they will not raise that money next year if they do not have a golf course.
Eller said the Boys and Girls Club, who is partnering with the Pee Dee Coalition on a march, had made requests to the city for funding, and they had not given them anything.
Eller told Wallace that he thought it was unfair that Wallace came directly at him with that. Eller said the city had thrown $1 million to a golf course that serves the one percent and that he thought that was unfair to the 99 percent who had to suffer.

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