Commissioners Present: Rob Harris (Chair), Jim Ehrhart (Vice Chair), Cindy Bingham, Marc Fontaine, Anne O’Connell, Jeff Odell and Ed Pavlu.
Others Present: Mark O’Brien (Director of Golf Operations), Steve Mann, (Director of Maintenance), Ben deRuyter (Selectmen Representative), Herb Montgomery (Fin Com Liaison), Jerri Carlin (9-Hole Women’s Golf Association and Friends of Captains Representative)
Call to Order: Rob Harris called the meeting to order at 4:01 p.m.
Association: Jerri Carlin of the 9-Hole Women’s Association reported that the Rally for Women with benefited the Cuda Women’s Health Center collected over $2,200. Mrs. Carlin also reported that the 9-Holer group is moving forward with developing a policy to use the Forward/Family Tees for Senior ladies belonging to the group.
Fred Turner said he runs a Wednesday golf group every year which account for 557 rounds of golf. Many of the players in the group are not members. He asked what they get as members and objected to the random tee-time system that may be implemented. There are about 50 people that are in the group and he questioned how they are going to manage since it is hard enough now to get tee-times for that many people.
Approval of Minutes: On a motion by Jim Ehrhart, seconded by Jeff Odell, the Commission voted to approve the minutes of September 25, 2013 as amended. Motion passed 7-0-0.
Superintendent's Report: Steve Mann
Mr. Mann reported on the aerating of the courses. He said the only problem was the transportation of the equipment which had to be transported back and forth from Cranberry Valley Golf Course. He suggested in the future scheduling consecutive days at one course so don’t have to go back and forth.
Mr. Mann said the courses are in better condition, but not great. They took 8 trees down at #8 Port near the green.
Personnel – the summer help is mostly gone and the rest will be leaving by end of month. The irrigation system will be shut down at end of month.
Fertilizer – Barnstable County put in some regulations that the town needs to implement. Golf Courses are generally exempt from these regulations. In the past we generally used 2 lb of fertilizer per area and this yr 2 ½ lb was used. We can stay within 3 lbs of fertilizer per area. Operators are going to need a license and not all operators can do same duties. If an employee is not certified for a specific task they can be supervised during certain parts of the year.
Test wells will be dug behind the #16 Port green and power area. There is a new trial of putting vegetable oil in the ground to neutralize the nitrogen.
Cindy Bingham asked Mr. Mann if he could do a comparison of the number of maintenance employees for the Harwich and Dennis courses. She would like the comparison to be for both full-time and part-time workers for the next meeting.
Director of Golf Operations Report: Mark O'Brien
Mr. O’Brien distributed the September report comparing revenue. Green fees were down 9 for September with guest play up a little from the past year. Currently we have outstanding hotel play for September that will be paid in October and is not reflected in this report.
We had a slow start in September with rain over the Labor Day weekend resulting in low numbers, but the rest of the month was good. Operating expenses are up about $20,000 due to advertising spending. The Fiscal Year to date revenue is down $20,000 for the first part of the fiscal year. The Pro shop sales are up $15,000 for the fiscal year with sales expecting to continue to be strong.
The Calendar Year to September report gives you a better idea of how the golf season really works. The total Revenue for membership is up from last year with a total membership for all categories being 997.
The club held a successful Member/Member tournament.
A member made a request for a refund or a credit of her AFP fee due to an injury. The request was received after the deadline of June 30, 2013.
The member explained that due to the Doctor’s diagnosis being changed from the first one she has been unable to play golf. When first diagnosed it was anticipated that she would be playing during this season. She told the Board that word of mouth about her situation and the lack of understanding by the Commission would not be beneficial to the Club. She requested a good faith process so that next year she could get a discount on her membership.
Rob Harris reviewed the Commission’s policy saying it was recently modified so that request had to be submitted by June 30th and who people played less that 3 times can get a refund, but those that played over 3 times got a credit toward their membership for the next year, but that year only. Based on the number of times she played during this year her credit would be $406.
Rob Harris made a motion that the Commission grant Nancy Wilson a credit of $406 toward next years membership, Jeff Odell seconded.
Cindy Bingham said the doctor told her one thing and it was another thing that was the problem.
The Commission voted 3-4-0. The motion was denied.
Discussion of Membership Fee Schedule for 2014 .
Selectman Ben deRuyter gave the Commission a recap of Board of Selectmen’s meeting of last night and said Jim Foley was unable to attend today’s meeting. Mr. deRuyter said it was the sentiment of the Board that expenses should not be cut at the expense of degrading quality of play the at golf course. The Selectmen did however suggest the Commission should do whatever can be done to increase revenue and don’t be afraid to do what is needed.
Mr. deRuyter said everything should be on the table when reviewing the budget and he fears if the FY 14 actuals are not available or accurate people will not be willing to support FY15 budget. He also said he is opposed at slashing expenses at the expense of the course as it is bad business practice.
Cindy Bingham addressed the Chair saying when you meet with the Selectmen you are there as Chair of the Commission and speak for all of us. When you spoke at the meeting you said I have a plan you did not discuss other plans that were proposed.
Jim Ehrhart said at the last meeting he was opposed to go to the $2,000 for an Early AFP membership. He said the Commission spent a couple of hours at the last meeting discussing fees and thinks the Commission needs to look at the budget for FY15. He also said he thinks Cindy Bingham’s suggestion of a 50/50 or 40/50 split between revenues and expenses is a viable one. The Commission should wait for a decision on our proposed FY 15 budget which will be available at the end of November before making a decision. We had many good ideas and to me we need FY15 budget before making a decision. Rate increase will be effective in the Spring of 2014.
Commission members requested Mr. O’Brien forecast the AFP membership fees based on existing rates, revise the forecast for the FY14 budget so that they know that the numbers are correct, and identify any decreases if the goal is to break even. This has the possibility to raise rate significantly and then go to the Board of Selectmen to approve our recommendation.
Mr. O’Brien said he does not see any huge savings but will put together a reviewed projection for FY14.
Mr. O’Brien said he needs the Guest Fee rates by Jan 1, 2014 and AFP membership fees for the renewal forms which are sent out in early February.
On a motion by Cindy Bingham, seconded by Anne O’Connell moved the Daily Fee Rates remain the same as this year.
Mr. O’Brien responded to Marc Fontaine’s question by saying that other courses on the Cape are keeping guest Fees the same since the market is level.
The Commission Voted to approve the motion 7-0-0.
Ben deRuyter commented on expenses saying if a few thousand dollars here a few thousand dollars there is a good chance to improve on what was done last year. Remember the Board of Selectmen did not give the Commission a directive to break even.
The Commission and audience discussed
- What is latest date a decision on AFP rates can be made so the FY15 budget can be set. A decision by November can go to the Selectmen for a vote.
- Impact if you raise AFP.
- Present negative and positive impact on the budget so that everyone has facts.
- Think about if only people that can afford to play at Captains will be members and if someone cannot afford membership you are telling them they cannot play at Captains.
- Mistake to go up on non-residents fees as they will go to other courses.
- There is no plan of going up to $2,000 it was just one of the plans that was proposed at the last meeting. This number came from a graft and that was all.
- Make a twilight time for non-resident.
- Review non-paying tournaments and possible loss of WGAM group playing at course.
- Discuss increasing hotel rate which is low.
- Rate that has the most room for increase would be the Early AFP.
- Suggestion of assessment seems to have the most traction. Discussed how this concept would work, what revenue would be generated with different scenarios, assessment would be temporary and members would need to make individual decision, assessment rate based on previous year’s number of times played,.
- What should the Commission concern themselves with, using $114,000 for FY14 and $67,000 for FY15 from the Reserve Fund. Is that our objective?
- Selectmen at their meeting last night said the Commission should do everything they can to minimize the deficit.
Mr. O’Brien is to prepare and distribute:
- Review expenses for FY14 to see what does not need to be spent.
- First draft on FY 15 expenses, revised FY14 projection for Nov 12 meeting.
- Maintenance staff numbers for full-time and part-time for Dennis and Harwich Courses.
- Increase of hotel rates from $40 to $50
Discuss Tee-Time System
Comments from Commission and audience:
- Survey shows that it is the opinion of the responders the Club should go to the random Lottery for the new system. 314 people reply to survey with 169 liking the trial system, 105 liking the old system and 40 with no preference.
- Fairness of Lottery System for people who play only 2 days a week or people that work; point system fairer.
- Have 2 classes of people, retirees who can play any time they want and the workers that can only play on weekends.
- Numbers show that 80% played once, 20% played more than 10 times and 13 players played more than 10 times on weekends in July & August.
- 120 players play frequently in July and August.
- Consider weekend rate only.
- Cannot determine if people playing are playing all 18 holes or just the front 9 when starting at the 1st tee.
- Chelsea Point System is fairer because it gives all members equal opportunity. There are members who can use the current system and are very good at getting the times they want.
- Discussed slowness and disadvantages to the current system.
- Discussed landlines and cell phone pros and cons.
- Want fairest system that retains the most members.
- Meet on October 22, 2013 just to discuss Chelsea Tee System, how it affects revenues.
On a motion by Jim Ehrhart, seconded by Ed Pavlu the Commission voted to adjourn at 5:55 p.m.
Anne Fusco LeMaitre