The Middleboro City Council tabled what most consider a huge issue at last weeks special-called meeting about the country club.
Whether or not the city will lease the Middlebsboro County Club has caused much talk throughout the town in the past several months and a decision has yet to be made. The mayor, members of the finance committee and members of the community met at city hall on Tuesday night to discuss what the proposed lease would entail, so that all involved will be better informed before the vote takes place.
The informative meeting answered questions from both council and community members, dispelling rampant rumors and discussing alternatives to the city leasing the club.
According to the mayor, if the city does not lease the country club, it will likely be foreclosed upon and go the highest bidder. If this happens, the club may cease to exist as there have been talks of a trailer park put in its place. The club cannot be sold at this point because the required 51 percent of shareholders will not agree to sell.
The mayor said as of now, the country club is current on all of its bills and is available for lease because of that fact.
The proposed lease will be for a minimum of 21 years, in three, seven year increments, and is renewable indefinitely. In the event the lease is broken, the country club would have to reimburse the city the estimated $200,000 it will have in the project.
The amount needed for the lease is still an estimate as the mayor waits for several companies to give their official estimates of what work needs to be completed to the course. According to Finance Committee Chairperson Bo Green, the course is not in playing condition.
According to the mayor, the companies are giving estimates on sprinkler systems and work that needs to be done to the greens. The mayor pointed out that any work that could be performed by city workers would likely be done that way in an effort to save money.
Council member Lucas Carter pointed out that while he was sure no one wanted to see the club fail, the decision ultimately affected the taxpayers and that is what the council members should focus on.
“I don’t think anybody wants to see it fail,” said Carter. “If I was going to vote on emotion, I would say lets go for it. I got married there, my reception was there, I grew up there, but this is a real, practical decision that affects taxpayers.”
The mayor and Green both stated there were no plans for an increase in taxes but admitted the proposed money used for the lease was taxpayer money. The money put into the lease would gradually be returned to the city in the event the club began making a profit.
It was said throughout the meeting, the venture is not expected to turn a large profit, but rather the focus was on breaking even and keeping the country club open and running.
If the city does lease the country club, it will be open to the public.
The next city council meeting is Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Middlesboro City Hall.
Reach Reina P. Cunningham at 606-302-9091 or on Twitter @ReinaDailyNews