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Point Mallard golf rate going up
Council approves increase despite charge measure was added at last minute

By Chris Paschenko
chris@decaturdaily.com 340-2442

Opponents of a golf-rate hike at Decatur's public course pleaded their case Monday, but the City Council voted in favor of more revenue.

Dave Dobbs, former president of the Point Mallard Independent Golf Association, accused the council of adding the rate hike to its agenda at the last minute, saying council members wanted to circumvent public opinion.

Council President Billy Jackson, however, gave Dobbs and other association members special permission after Monday's agenda meeting to voice their opposition. In the following business meeting, the council approved the rate hike 5-0.

"Our concern is, they cut out a senior rate," Dobbs said. "I think they pulled a fast one on it by sliding it on there."

The council usually confines public comment to the agenda meeting one week before its business meeting; however, the rate hike was added during the Nov. 27 agenda meeting without prior notice by the council.

Jackson said he spoke with a member of the association before the Nov. 27 meeting, and he came away thinking the annual rate hike of $420 for unlimited play and cart use wasn't an issue.

Association member Charlie Moore told the council that seniors pay $115 monthly ($1,380 annually) and that a 30 percent rate hike was too much.

"We ask for the opportunity to discuss it if the council would permit," Moore said.

Jeff Dunlap, director of Parks and Recreation, said the rate hike was fair for the services provided and in line with what other courses charge, whether the city called its rates "senior rates" or not.

Before voting, Councilman Gary Hammon said that the rate hike would affect only golfers, including seniors, who play more than 99 rounds each year, and that those who play less than that during the week, excluding weekends, would pay less.

"They're good guys. They just don't want to see any changes no matter how much it'll benefit them," Hammon said.

Councilman Ray Metzger said he was going to suggest tabling the item, but Hammon's math changed his mind.

Jackson said the item was placed on the Nov. 27 agenda to accommodate a deadline for printing materials associated with the rate hike. Waiting until the Dec. 11 agenda meeting wouldn't have met the Jan. 1 deadline, he said.

"We're trying to promote Decatur beyond the city limits," he said. "We had to get the printings out in a timely manner."

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