Chair Miller called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
Commissioner Han led the flag salute.
Present: Virginia Han, George Miller, Sharon Quirk, Nancy Spencer, Neil Swanson
Absent: Kathleen Baier Dalton, Craig Russell
Staff Present: Susan Hunt, Community Services Director; Community Services Managers Joe Felz, Alice Loya, and Randy McDaniel; John Karwin, Exhibit/Museum Specialist; Aimee Aul, Museum Educator; Tom Moreno, Landscape Supervisor
Commissioner Spencer MOVED to APPROVE the Minutes of the March 8, 2004 regular meeting as written, and Commissioner Swanson SECONDED the MOTION.
Per Chair Miller, the Minutes stand APPROVED AS WRITTEN.
Alice Loya, Community Services Manager, introduced Betty Mullaney, General Manager, who presented American Golf Corporations proposal for rate changes at the Fullerton Municipal Golf Course. After thanking the Commissioners for allowing her to speak to them, General Manager Mullaney stated that the request for approval of changes in the various rates at the golf course was due to expenses incurred from higher fuel, electricity, water, and food costs. She further stated that American Golf would like the increased revenues so it could invest more money back into the golf course. She referred Commissioners to the Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) of various local golf courses which indicated that the requested rate changes were in line with the other courses. General Manager Mullaney also noted that she had held meetings with all the clubs using the golf course and had received their support for the proposed rate increases. She stated that weekly club play would remain at $14, but other play would increase $1 to $15.
General Manager Mullaney introduced Joe Adamo, President of the Mens Club and Dick Woods, President of the Senior Club, who had come to support American Golfs proposed rate changes. She was also asked about the requested rate change for Mondays and Wednesdays which would be lower than the current rate, how the new rate would affect the courses budget, and how it compares to other golf courses. She explained that the lower fee was designed to encourage additional play, during a very slow time, from golfers who also play at other times during the week. Manager Mullaney also responded that other courses do not offer the reduced rates for Monday and Wednesday play, which would also encourage players from those courses to play at the Municipal Golf Course.
General Manager Mullaney also answered Commissioner questions regarding regular senior play which will remain at $20 for both weekdays and weekends although early bird and twilight play on weekends will increase from $17 to $20, partly due to increased damage during weekend twilight hours from players and partly because American Golf is trying to close the large gap between the lowest and highest fees on weekend play. She also answered questions about cart fees, noting that they will also remain the same at $12 or $9 at twilight. Manager Mullaney noted that they have completed their brand new fleet of 80 new carts which has resulted in a large increase in ridership. Regular golfer fees would remain at $29 for the weekend or $41 if using a cart.
Commissioners also asked if the increase in fees would discourage players, but Manager Mullaney responded no, that there has been a sign announcing the fee changes for over a month so that everyone understands that fees are going up and why. She has also issued an invitation to come to her office if anyone has questions, and there have been no complaints whatsoever. Asked about use at the golf course, Manager Mullaney said it is picking up although rounds have been declining over the past few years, due to an overall trend in the golf industry where it is going down 3% annually, down 4.3% in Orange County. She described recent course and landscaping improvements, noting that golfers were coming back, and that the course has received very positive comments.
Steve Parris, Regional Director of American Golf, stated that he is fairly new to American Golf, which transitioned into new ownership about a year ago. The company immediately noticed improvements needed at Fullerton Municipal Golf Course to build back the business and, therefore, spent $260,000 in capital improvements in the last eight to ten months, $80,000 in bunker improvements, new golf course superintendent, renovated and painted club house, and fixed the roadway for about $50,000. Although the golf industry is suffering in general, Mr. Parris restated his companys commitment, saying that it can continue improvements to bring back play at Fullerton Municipal Golf Course while also increasing revenues for both American Golf and the City.
Joe Adamo, President of the Mens Club, stated that he has been the president for the past 12 to 15 years, off and on. He was associated with Fullerton Golf for 25 years. He admitted he had not been satisfied with the way things had been going for all those years. However, for the past year and a half, he said he has been flabbergasted with the improvements, that the place is looking marvelous, and the price increases are in line. He suggested the Commission accept the proposed fee changes since American Golf could have asked for more money, given the time and money invested.
Dick Woods, Seniors President, has only been president since December and a member for one year. He noted that General Manager Mullaney promised a lot at a meeting and the members were skeptical; however, everything she told us came true, especially the bunkers and sand; the fairways and greens look good, and the seniors are happy. Mr. Woods group is also recommending the fee increases proposed by American Golf.
A commissioner mentioned receiving a phone call regarding a Fullerton High School plan this evening to develop a high school golf club, team and booster club in which organizers hope to include a partnership with the Fullerton Municipal Golf Course. The Commissioner promised to provide a school contact to American Golf to further explore this potential partnership, noting that the golf courses improvements and increases in revenue will make partnerships such as this possible.
Director Hunt spoke to partnerships also, and asked General Manager Mullaney to describe American Golfs successful partnership with the Fullerton Senior Center. Manager Mullaney stated that the new Senior Program is really getting off to a good start; the first class only had seven students, the second had a waiting list; and now there are double the classes. Seniors are now visiting the golf course and looking for classes there. She is looking into a Nine and Dine where the seniors can start a league, play nine holes and have lunch at the golf course. Another commissioner stated that tonights meeting was the first really positive meeting hes seen regarding the golf course, and he praised American Golf for their improvements.
Commissioner Swanson MOTIONED to accept the staff recommendation and Commissioner Spencer SECONDED the MOTION.
The MOTION carried unanimously.
Community Services Manager Randy McDaniel provided an overview of the completed Emery Park Playground Renovation project including a visual presentation with a location map and an aerial photo of the park located at 1251 Sunny Ridge Drive. He noted that the eight-acre park was an Improved CIP Project, with total costs of improvements $99,000 ($39,000 in park dwelling funds, $20,000 from Texaco, and $40,000 from the Fullerton Recycles program). He described the lack of amenities prior to the improvements as well as the renovation which included a new play structure, swing set, benches and trash receptacle, play area expansion, and graphics in the play area surfacing.
Commissioners remarked that the Emery Park improvements looked very nice including the graphics on the play surface. It was noted, however, that Plaza Park did not seem to have as much play equipment such as swings or a slide. Manager McDaniel agreed, saying that in park as small as Plaza Park, it is always a challenge to put in a swing because swings require so much space. Other equipment would have to be taken out to accommodate the space required for a swing. Director Hunt also mentioned the new playground and ADA standards which reduce swings due to the landing area required. She also commended Manager McDaniel on the unique artistic details which he created that the children find captivating. Commissioners agreed that they were pleased with the playground renovations.
Community Services Manager Joe Felz presented the Cultural and Event Services annual preview of upcoming events and core division responsibilities.
The Landscape Division Monthly Report for March 2004 was received and filed. Landscape Supervisor Tom Moreno presented the report. A commissioner commented on Item 8 of the report regarding the removal of the temporary pitching mound, expressing concern mostly about improving cross communications between the City and the sports users group, although he also acknowledged that communications have improved greatly. Supervisor Moreno responded that the field users are very supportive through field maintenance and, thus, he also likes to ensure good communication, which was why he kept printed e-mails to make certain that his department is complying with requests from the field users.
Supervisor Moreno was asked about the report of 471 trees removed and only 230 trees planted, and what would be put in the holes. He said he could not answer immediately, but would ensure that a response would be provided. A commissioner also remarked that Arbor Day was a huge success, Hillcrest Park was beautiful, the playground wonderful, and that, hopefully, allowing alcohol use at the Terrace would increase wedding and party reservations at the Terrace. Director Hunt agreed that alcohol use will increase reservations at the Terrace, noting that a recent baby shower with all the arrangements of a wedding was cancelled when the party found out that alcohol could not be served. There were Commissioner questions whether alcohol could be served for weddings only, or for any special event. Director Hunt clarified that alcohol service at the Terrace would be allowed for any special event.
The Building and Facilities Division Maintenance Report for March 2004 was received and filed.
Director Hunt answered questions and discussed items listed in the agenda which had been before the City Council the previous month.
She also answered other commissioner questions, stating that the cuts are across the board in Community Services although she didnt know if it was across the board in all City departments, that the Department is moving into the larger cuts proposed in its budget scenarios, and that the Tiny Tots program and gym usage will not be part of the pool closure although there may be some minor adjustments due to the 1.5% reductions.
A commissioner query regarding the upcoming summer programs was clarified by Director Hunt who said that only the program at Hillcrest Park will charge $100 per week while the other three summer programs in the more disadvantaged areas of the City will still be free.
Director Hunt referred to the information provided to the Commissioners regarding the Bastanchury Park Field Use Subcommittee, noting the Subcommittees decision to convert the Sports Complex ball fields for baseball only while Bastanchury Park ball fields would be developed for softball only with Little League able to practice when softball didnt need the fields. There will also be a meeting April 22 to discuss the field changes for which the teams have agreed to pay. It was agreed that the Subcommittee meeting was very cooperative, with Commissioner Dalton doing a good job of chairing and Commissioner Swanson providing a good solution.
Director Hunt provided a preview of the May Commission meeting, noting that May is always the month for budgets and fee resolutions. In addition, the Department is looking at field impact fees for the sports leagues at $10 per player per season. She noted the $560,000 or $570,000 for youth sports-related costs to the Maintenance Department, and lighting costs which may also require light fees on an hourly rate basis.
Commissioner Spencer MOTIONED to ADJOURN the meeting and Commissioner Quirk SECONDED the motion. Chair Miller ADJOURNED the meeting at 7:57 p.m.