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The Public Works Department will take over operations in January, when the management contract expires.

STEELE HAUGEN/MADRAS PIONEER - The city of Madras is planning to take over the clubhouse management at the city-owned Desert Peaks Golf Course when the current contract expires in January.The Madras Public Works Department will likely take over all operations at Desert Peaks Golf Course after Desert Peaks Enterprises LLC's contract expires in January 2021.

The city owns the course, which it uses to irrigate treated effluent from its North Waste Water Treatment Plant, and the department provides maintenance for the course.

Public Works Director Jeff Hurd thinks the city should be overseeing the day-to-day operations of the course.

The contractor gets $60,600 per year, plus 20% of revenues over $81,000 now.

Hurd said his department could take over the clubhouse by hiring one additional employee and promoting one to oversee operations. The city would also have to update its personnel manual and get a liquor license and point of sale system, as well as other updates and changes to its insurance policy.

Hurd told the City Council on Jan. 28 that the city could better promote the course and increase play, generate more money for the city and provide better service. After a discussion, the council agreed to let Hurd move forward with his proposal.

He suggested the department operate the course for five years and evaluate progress.

"Let's hold ourselves accountable too," Hurd said. "If we can't get it done, then we go to the next option."

He's set goals of a 3% per year increase in annual pass memberships and increasing tournament play by 4% per year. He also wants to improve communication with golfers, the pro shop and staff to reduce complaints. He's also planning for regular operating hours and improving the structure of play, tee times and implementing a limit to the number of carts per hole. In addition, the department would promote the course, increasing advertising and website updates as well as giving the pro shop a facelift.

Mayor Richard Ladeby said he plays at the course quite often and feels that there are some obstacles to overcome to increase play, particularly with irrigation.

Hurd said staff has been setting aside funds to replace the irrigation system because they've had so many problems with it. They have $400,000 of the $600,000 needed in reserves, he said.

"We're not the only jurisdiction that does this," Hurd said in an interview. "Prineville does it, too. The advice I get is it's the way to go."

Because the contract expires in the middle of the fiscal year, the city has to budget for the change now.


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