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Revenues at Lions Club Municipal Golf Course have already surpassed the total take for all of 2016, members of the El Dorado Parks and Playgrounds noted Tuesday.

The financial statement was among several encouraging reports about Lions Club that commissioners heard during a regular meeting Tuesday.

Chairman Ken Goudy directed fellow commissioners toward income totals, pointing out that the golf course brought just under $159,000 through the end of September, compared to $120,000 for 2016.

“We’re hoping for $15,000 to $17,000 this month. You never know about November or December. It all depends on the weather,” Goudy said.

Gross revenue for June came in at just over $20,330 and $27,370 for July. Income for August and September was $17,731 and $22,236, respectively.

During the 2017 budget process, city officials spent a great deal of time focusing on the annual deficit that was being posted for the golf course — a matter that was cited by state legislative auditors — and money that was being transferred from the general fund to reconcile the negative balance.

The negative number had been forecast at $106,000 for 2017.

Danny Carelock, interim manager of Lions Club, said revenues for the summer held, in spite of the rain.

While play has slowed — which is typical for this time of year — October revenues are shaping up, Carelock said.

He said several membership renewals are upcoming for senior players, and a benefit golf tournament held over the weekend was successful, having drawn 69 teams.

The tournament was held to help cover medical/ rehabilitation expenses for Nic Cole, who was seriously injured in a boating accident last January.

Carelock said discussions are under way to adjust fall/winter hours at Lions Club, noting shorter daylight hours and the coming of Daylight Saving Time on Nov. 5.

In addition to an increase in play and revenue, Goudy said the general atmosphere at Lions Club is also inviting, prompting the return of some golfers who previously left Lions Club for other golf courses in the area.

“It’s the overall feeling out there. Everyone feels welcome. The course is in the best shape that I’ve ever seen,” Goudy said.

He said there is work to do over the winter to ensure the course is in even better shape come spring, including the need for a new game mower.

Carelock agreed.

“The condition of the golf course is pretty good. There’s a lot more we need to get done, but it’s in good shape for what we had to work with,” Carelock said.

For the first time, Carelock said the golf course was fertilized twice in one year, which has improved the greenery.

“We’ve got grass out there that we can’t cut,” Carelock said.

He said the fertilizer was donated by El Dorado Chemical Company, and Commissioner David Hurst encouraged the commission to follow through on earlier discussions to recognize El Dorado Chemical for its continued support of Lions Club.

El Dorado Chemical donates fertilizer to the golf course each year.

Like Goudy, Carelock said crews could spend wintertime tending to such tasks as trimming trees and picking up limbs.

Goudy cited the need for aerating equipment and the new game mower, telling commissioners that the lease for the existing mower will be expire at the end of the year.

Carelock said a new mower will free up time for workers to focus on other maintenance and improvement projects.

Commissioner Alexis Alexander asked if it was typical for the city to lease large equipment, and Mayor Frank Hash said yes.

“We’re drifting toward a lease because you have to replace those things every two years, and that turned out to be the better deal,” Hash said. “Those things are running all the time, and they take a beating.”

He noted that the city leases the game mower and large tractor at South Arkansas Regional Airport.

Carelock reported that the golf carts are in good shape.

Last March, the city entered into an agreement with former Lions Club golf professional Mike Hoelzer to pay him directly for the 40 golf carts and a golf ball picker that Holezer had leased.

The city hammered out the deal during a contentious time that arose after parks and playgrounds commissioners opted not to renew Holezer’s contract for the year.

Hash said Tuesday there is a year and a half left on thegolf-cart lease. Monthly payments are $3,017, and the lease includes repairs.

Tia Lyons may be con tacted at 870-862-6611 or by email at tlyons@ eldo

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