Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The City of Cedar Rapids needs some Management

What is the City Council of the City of Cedar Rapids thinking these days?

Today's Gazette front page headline reads "Golf Slice". The online version reads "Council to discuss selling Twin Pines Golf Course" or at least part of the 155 acre golf course.

Clearly, the article points out mismangement in the City's current golf department operations. It appears the City Manager is now testing the City's stewardship responsibilities as he nears his first year in our community.

As one council member stated, it is appropriate to review City assets and determine how to best use them. Further, how best to provide services is another important factor.

So, what is with the trail balloons coming out from the City Manager and one of council members prior to the review?

I am concerned when the City appears to be putting the cart before the horse. Why stir up the emotions within the community with trial balloons prior to going through a thoughtful review process. Let's review our City assets. Let's determine how to best use them.

We have an outstanding community. Quality of life is a very important and does impact economic development and jobs. Recreation services are important for our community. If you survey golfers in the community (ie: taxpayers and citizens), you likely will find many wanting the City to outsource management of the golf courses to professional contractors.

You don't have to go outside Linn County to get good feedback. The article pointed out when they asked Marion Mayor John Nieland, "saying he'd keep the course and turn it over to private management before selling it for some other purpose.He noted he can play more cheaply before 10 a.m. at Hunters Ridge Golf Course in Marion and St. Andrew's Golf Club in Cedar Rapids, both private courses, than at Twin Pines."
The City Council needs to get there ducks in a row. Outsourcing management is likely going to be discussed here in the future, as the City Manager floated during the completion of the City's management restructuring. The Golf Courses lend themselves to a good option for a new management structure. Efficiency and better management should be seeked first, before selling City assets.


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