By a narrow margin, the city finally hired a private company Thursday to run the financially troubled Iron Eagle golf course.
Mayor Marc Kaschke broke the tie with a yes vote after the council voted 4-4 to hire Landscapes Group of Lincoln.
During discussion, Councilman Larry Campbell strongly objected to the contract.
Campbell said that the city will pay Landscapes $60,000 a year to operate the course and the city will still pays the expenses at the course, and Landscapes will not guarantee to make the course profitable.
“Where’s the gain?” Campbell asked. “What’s to keep them from leaving after five years, showing no progress, walking with their money and no guarantee that the course would even be left in the same condition as it was?”
kaschke expressed confidence that Landscapes has the know how to make the course more profitable and said "what we’ve been doing is not working."
Dan McGuire predicted that golf course employees would be terminated or take hefty cuts in pay. He said he couldn’t support the contract because of that.
“I agree with Dan 100 percent,” Councilmember Tim Barrett said. “There are lawsuits pending already. If this goes over, the city will have to have an open checkbook to settle lawsuits.”
Councilman Jim Carman called for a vote. Pederson, McNea, Carman and Steinbeck voted yes. Barrett, Stoll, McGuire and Campbell voted no. Kaschke broke the tie.
The contract begins July 1.
City attorney Doug Stack said he had negotiated parts of the contract with Landscapes in the last two weeks, since the council held a closed door session to discuss the contract.
• Landscapes would not settle for less than a five-year contract.
• Landscapes agreed not to include insurance proceeds as receipts.
• If a catastrophe such as a riot, flood or fire makes the course inoperable, Landscapes agreed to totally suspend the contract until operations resume.
• The city insurance will cover liability for gross misconduct or intentional negligence.
Kaschke has tried for nearly two years to change the management at the course, which bas never shown a profit and lost $178,000 last yaer. The council agreed 5-3 in January to look for a private company. Two months ago, Kaschke cast the decisive vote to hire Landscapes from a field of three applicants.
In other action, the council:
• Suspended the required three-reading rule and updated city ordinances, allowing above ground natural gas tanks to be installed at truck stops and travel centers.
• Love’s Travel Centers asked for the change. Love’s wants to offer natural gas fuel to trucks.
• Accepted a certificate of completion, and assessment -- for a new sanitary sewer line between Grant and Lincoln Ave in the alley between Sixth and Front streets. A board of equalization will review the assessment costs to property owners on July 3.
• Accepted the same for new paving between Eastman and Tabor avenues.
• Designated First National Bank of North Platte as a lender on city projects.
• Authorized payments of $117,298 and $89,109 to Cement Products for work on the new city bus barn and paving of 17th St.
• Authorized the North Platte Farmer’s Market to be held downtown in the Parkade Plaza through the summer.