City golf course manager falls victim to budget woesDeclining golf revenues led to the layoff of the Woodbury municipal golf course manager last week. Woodbury City Council voted, as part of a consent agenda, to lay off Eagle Valley Golf Course manager Shaun Peltier.
By: Riham Feshir, Woodbury Bulletin
Declining golf revenues led to the layoff of the Woodbury municipal golf course manager last week.
Woodbury City Council voted, as part of a consent agenda, to lay off Eagle Valley Golf Course manager Shaun Peltier.
Though the decision was effective March 8, Peltier was on paid administrative leave before the decision went public last week.
“By our code, he has a two weeks’ notice, but you just can’t have someone present when this recommendation moves forward,” City Administrator Clint Gridley said. “It’s just difficult.”
The move will save the city about $20,600 this year and $97,755 next year, according to a staff report.
“It’ll give us some relief in 2012, but the full amount of financial benefit will be more in 2013,” Gridley said. “And that’s why there was some urgency to initiate this.”
He cited “shrinking margin,” the difference between revenues and expenses and what the city uses to pay for capital equipment and debt, as the main reason.
The city opened Eagle Valley Golf course in 1998 and Peltier has been the manager since then.
He handled administrative and financial tasks that will now be done by the city’s finance department, IT and communications divisions and other golf course employees, Gridley said.
There will be additional seasonal help when the golf course opens in the spring.
“We’re looking to use other people within the organization to fill the need that the former golf course manager provided,” Gridley said.
He added that the Eagle Valley situation is not unique.
The golf industry has struggled over the past few years. A number of golf courses in the metro have been sold, some have closed and employees have been laid off, Gridley added.
It’s a competitive industry that has suffered from a recession as well as an overbuilding of golf courses in the 1990s, Gridley said.
“(Peltier) helped grow the course. We have had a long-term relationship with him,” he said. “This is a difficult decision based on the financial situation and we really have got to the point where we felt a reduction in staffing was needed to give us the best financial relief.”
Woodbury City Council recently gave the OK to reduce Eagle Valley fees in an effort to attract more golfers and increase revenues.
So far the golf course has been able to pay for all operating and personnel expenses since it opened, but it has struggled to pay for capital equipment, Gridley said.
However, city officials say changes will not affect the visitor experience at Eagle Valley.
“For the golfer, their experience will be unchanged,” he said.