According to Golf Course Commission Chairwoman Pam Ritter, the commission voted last night to cut in half a controversial fee for additional riders on private carts on the course. The rates for an extra non-member will be $6.00 for 18 holes and $4.00 for 9 holes. The rate for members will be $5.00 for 18 holes and $3.00 for 9 holes. Ritter said the rates will be effective immediately and continue until the end of the 2015 season, however they will not issue refunds for fees charged so far. Ritter said the decrease was the result of a meeting between herself, commission member Bob Karutis, Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler and Alderman Ron Barone on Wednesday.
Previously, the Common Council had passed a resolution requesting the commission eliminate the extra rider fees completely. However, the commission responded with a statement on June 10 asserting that the council did not have the authority to set fees for the course. On June 12, the council’s agenda for their upcoming meeting included an ordinance for introduction sponsored by Alderman Ed Russo, who is also the liaison to the golf commission, which would have removed the section of the city code which defined the commission, which would effectively eliminate it.
According to City Clerk Susan Alibozek, the ordinance is still scheduled for a public hearing and vote at the next council meeting on July 7. However, Russo said today he expects the measure will be tabled. Russo said he introduced the ordinance to make a point.
“How can a commission have more power than the Common Council?” asked Russo. “For them to tell us we can’t tell them what to do is totally wrong.”
Russo said he still hopes to look further into some of the underlying questions about the what the commission’s authority is and how it’s finances are structured. Overall, Russo said he thought the course was doing well this year and commended the work being done by Course Superintendent Darren Graf and Golf Pro Joe Merendo.