As the City of Dearborn continues the bargaining process for the takeover of the Mystic Creek Golf Club, City Council on Tuesday approved a temporary budget of $260,000 that will help the city transition to ownership.
City officials this month agreed to begin the process to repossess the golf course and banquet center, which is on Camp Dearborn property but has been run by a private company.
The proposal on the table would require owner Jim Dewling and his company, Total Golf, to hand over the reigns for a sum of $900,000—minus anything Dewling owes on the property, including back taxes and back rent.
Mayor Jack O’Reilly explained that the temporary budget would allow the Recreation and Parks Department to spend two months going over operations, costs and revenue of the facility in order to finalize a more concrete budget for fiscal year 2013.
“This budget is only to get through the transition, and it doesn’t commit us to being the operators,” O’Reilly said. “We have until April to put into place whatever operating model we think we want to do.”
Councilman Bob Abraham expressed concern that the course will quickly start sucking up budget dollars.
“If it takes $260,000 to go 60 days … it’s going to take $130,000 a month until May or June,” he cautioned.
Also in question is how much revenue the course will generate to offset those costs, especially since the golf season is over.
But with Dewling threatening to walk away from the course entirely, city officials agreed that a repossession—which allows them to retain all equipment, the liquor license, and bookings—is the best option.
“The asset is going to fall back to us either way,” O’Reilly said. “One where we’re starting from scratch … and one where we transition in a ‘friendly’ takeover, if you will.”
Recreation Director Greg Orner explained that the budget has a cushion to allow them to keep paying employees and running upcoming booked events while they assess the property.
“We don’t expect to expend that full amount of dollars,” Orner said. “We wanted to give ourselves a little latitude. … then we would come back to the council with a full budget for fiscal year 2013.”
The city expects to reach a final agreement with Dewling and Total Golf this week.