Golf course upgrade costs, memberships up

As costs continue to mount for the renovations to the White Deer Golf Complex, membership numbers for next year are coming in at a “record pace,” according to county commissioners.

The course’s bunker renovation project is one of the largest capital projects at the course, and it is currently “over budget,” according to Fiscal Services.

Referencing numbers originally provided by Billy Casper Golf, the course’s management company, the project was set to run at $296,000 and it is now at roughly $370,153, with an alternative estimate as high as $388,153, according to Mya Toon, chief procurement officer for the county.

Despite the high cost, which Toon attributes to the increase in prevailing wage that was not originally factored, the commissioners said the expense of the project could decrease depending on how many bunkers are renovated.

The original budget is for the renovation of 92 bunkers at the course, but McKernan said they may not choose to renovate the total amount.

Commissioner Rick Mirabito also stressed that the funds for the renovations come from a 2012 bond that can only be used for recreational projects.

“We have to keep up our capital assets or else they will deteriorate over time,” Mirabito said.

Fixing the bunkers is crucial to course’s function and aesthetics, according to Matthew A. McDermott, director of administration and chief clerk for the county.

McKernan also added that next year’s memberships for the course are moving at a “record pace.”

He said a report from Billy Casper shows the membership numbers for 2017 are higher than they have been for the past five years.

McKernan said the “money’s talking” despite some negative feedback they have received from community members about Billy Casper’s management of the course.

The commissioners also approved a $142,226 contract for phase three of renovations to the irrigation system at the course. This project is currently running at $264,000, just under its $270,000 budget, according to Toon. It also is paid with money from the 2012 bond.

In other business, the commissioners unanimously approved the $56,320 purchase of new scheduling software for the Lycoming County Courthouse, as well as $11,264 for maintenance.

The commissioners present were Mirabito and McKernan.

There will be no meetings during the week of the election. The next commissioners meeting will be at 10 a.m. on Nov. 15.