Prairie Trails Golf Course will be getting a new fleet of golf carts following action by the El Dorado City Commission Monday evening.

Prairie Trails Golf Course will be getting a new fleet of golf carts following action by the El Dorado City Commission Monday evening.

The course currently has 55 golf carts, 13 of which were sent to get batteries replaced because they had failed.

The new fleet was in the Capital Improvement Plan for 2015.

"My fear is they are not going to make it to 2015," said Jason Hughey. street superintendent. "The carts we sent over are under warranty, but the warranty is up in June."

He said they took the issue to the Prairie Trails Advisory Board and they recommended they purchase new carts and wanted to increase it to 60 carts on a four-year lease.

Commissioner Bill Young asked how many tournaments they host each year where they have to rent additional carts.

Hughey said about four times a year they have to rent 15 or so carts, but that cost is passed on to the tournament organizer.

"We looked at the number, whether we ought to add that 15 to 20, and it just didn't make financial sense," said Herb Llewellyn, city manager.

They did have all of their carts out some Saturdays last summer.

Commissioner Chase Locke asked if there was a way to evaluate the fleet they have and just replace half. He wondered if that would be a better option.

Commissioner David Chapin also asked about replacing them on a rotating basis, where 20 were replaced every year. He thought that might have a lesser impact on the budget.

The advantage of replacing them all now was they would all still be under warranty.

"My thoughts are we bought a golf course and own a golf course and we want to keep it maintained," Locke said. "We don't want people going out there and having a bad experience."

Young said his preference would be to go with the lease option.

"I recognize the need for working golf carts at our golf course," he said. "I think it would result in poor customer service and a poor experience if our mindset is they may get a cart that will die on hole number nine or it may not. I think this is something we need to consider and move forward with."

The commission also was told they would spend about the same amount if they purchased some each year or all every four years under a lease purchase. It also would be nearly impossible for them to know which carts to trade in because they may be going bad.

The city will try to sell their current fleet of carts, and what cannot be sold will be traded in when the new ones are purchased.

"This is exactly why I asked for a complete income/expense report on the golf course for last year," said Mayor Mike Fagg. "We are just like a bunch of kids saying we want a new car. Do we have usage information on those carts? If we had no tournaments, how many carts would be used out there?”

Hughey said sometimes they use all 55 carts and other times only half may be out.

Fagg went on to say the city of Wichita only has 11 tournaments scheduled at their municipal courses next year and asked how many El Dorado had.

Hughey said there were 24 scheduled for 2014 so far.

"Why do they not want to do tournaments over there?" he asked of Wichita. "Do they keep people off the courses on the weekend? I don't want it costing us money so they make money."

Chapin then asked if tournaments made the city money and he was told they do.

"Just because you weren't here, doesn't mean we haven't talked about it," Llewellyn said. "It's in their budget for 2015. The commission has absolutely talked about stuff and talked about this.

"Last year I would not allow them to ask the commission to get new ones. I did allow them to put them in the CIP because I did anticipate them getting old. None of this is happening in a vacuum. Two weeks ago you asked for the P&L on four things we do. We're working on it. You'll get it at your next meeting."

Fagg then pointed out the lease is $22,000 more and Hughey said that comes with a bumper to bumper warranty.

Fagg asked what they had used that warranty for and was told such things as batteries, front end work, cracked windshields and more from normal wear and tear on a golf course.

Fagg also asked where the money would come from to pay for them and was told it would come out of the general fund.

A motion was then made to approve a four-year lease for 55 new carts with Kansas Golf and Turf. Their bid was $158,772, but Llewellyn had earlier pointed out that would be less because the city would get its own financing for them at a lower rate than Kansas Golf offered.

Chapin then asked why the city would lease them rather than purchase.

Llewellyn said that way they had a normal payment.

Chapin then pointed out if they purchase them it would be closer to the $135,899 bid.

Commissioner Nick Badwey then changed his motion to be for the purchase of the carts.

Fagg again said he would rather replace the batteries the first time around. He also suggested they could have used the money from the driving range or cart paths for this, but Young said the cart paths would improve the life of the carts.

"It's hard in life to get everything you want if you don't have the money," Fagg said.

The motion passed 4-1, with Fagg opposed.

 

Julie Clements can be reached at jclements@butlercountytimesgazette.com.