School district to continue using city ball fields
Five-year maintenance contract approved
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The School District of Rhinelander will be able to continue using the city-owned ball fields at Pioneer Park, Hodag Park and West Park to play softball and baseball for the next five years under an agreement approved Monday by the Rhinelander City Council.
The new agreement was worked out between representatives of the city and school district after discussions earlier this year regarding a proposal to construct a second softball field at Pioneer Park, where boards for an ice rink used to be located, brought to light the school district didn’t have a current written agreement with the city for using the existing softball field, though the district was still paying the city a fee for each time a game was held there, with the last contract in effect for 2003.
City attorney Carrie Miljevich said the city previously had separate contracts with the school district for baseball and softball, while the new agreement combines the two sports.
“It just gets too cumbersome (with two separate contracts),” Miljevich said. “The seasons are the same.”
The city initially offered a new one-year contract, but district activities director Brian Paulson asked that the contract be extended for five years.
The terms of the new contract, which runs from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2021, call for the school district to pay the city a flat fee of $1,525 each year prior to the start of the spring WIAA softball and baseball seasons. That amount includes field preparations prior to games and any use of lights at any of the fields.
The $1,525 annual fee will be in effect for the duration of the contract unless the consumer price index for the preceding year increases by more than 5 percent, for which the school district and city would meet to discuss the possibility of a fee increase for that year.
The contract, which may be terminated with a 120-day notice to either party, also calls for the city and school district to begin negotiating a new contract after at the end of the 2020 spring softball and baseball season.
NEW GOLF CARS
The city-owned Northwood Golf Course received City Council approval Monday to purchase 40 new Yamaha golf cars and trade in 40 of the 60 existing cars that are more than 10 years old at a cost of $132,120. The price of a new car is $4,903, minus the trade-in value of an existing car at $1,600.
Golf course superintendent Joe Andersen said the purchase of the cars would be financed over six years at $22,000 a year.
To help cover the cost of the new cars, golf course pro Dan Buckley noted a $1 fee increase to use the cars next year is expected to generate an additional $14,000, while the new cars will have a four-year warranty and should save money on maintenance, which this past golf season cost $6,000 for parts on the existing cars.
Alderman Tom Gleason, who cast the lone dissenting vote, said he wanted to see what would happen to the golf course’s operating budget, once the course would be changed from an enterprise fund to a special revenue fund, before spending more than $132,000 on new golf cars. A public hearing to consider changing the funding for the golf course, which has been losing money in recent years, is slated for the council’s Dec. 12 meeting.
Given the condition of the existing golf cars, alderman Steve Sauer said he was out at the course this year and “if I were traveling and went to a golf course, and got some of the cars I got this year, I would never go back to that course again….These (golf cars) are way past their lifespan.”
GOLF COURSE RESTAURANT
Council members also backed a new contract for David O’Melia to continue running Mulligan’s Restaurant at the Northwood Golf Course through 2018.
The new operating agreement sets the monthly rent at $2,000 for a total of $18,000 next year and $20,000 in 2018 while operating the restaurant for 19 months over those two years
In addition to the restaurant continuing its food/beverage concession, language was added to the new contract to include taking over the beverage cart service.
The city sought proposals in August to have someone operate the restaurant year-round, but no one else came forward.