Visalia brings business dealing up to par

(Kenny Goodman)

City administration keeps council, public up-to-date on improved business arrangements with Valley Oaks Golf Course

VISALIA – After “iron-ing” out the details for the management of Visalia’s golf course, the city discovered that leasing the site has proven to be the more beneficial play.

Since 2018, the city of Visalia has leased its golf course to Valley Oaks Golf Course, an affiliate of the business management consultant CourseCo Inc. City administration went to city council on June 5 with an update on the lease agreement to keep council as well as the public up-to-date on how the arrangement is going.

“It’s public funds – we want to be transparent about where the money is being spent,” assistant city manager Nick Mascia said. “This also offers [insight on] what the city is doing to try and incorporate various recreation opportunities [for the community].”

Thus far, after six years of utilizing a lease agreement instead of its prior arrangement, the city has benefited more from this arrangement overall, according to Mascia. Not only that, but he noted Valley Oaks Golf Course has proven themself to be good tenants thus far, a noteworthy factor as the city continues to offer this opportunity to Visalia citizens.

“The importance of having the golf course gives amenities to the residents, so there’s kind of a ‘one-two punch’ reason to present this update,” Mascia said.

Before, some time just before the year 2000, CourseCo performed as a management operation instead of as a tenant. However, in 2018, the agreement was re-hashed as a 20-year term lease instead of a management contract.

“With a management operation company, there were certain things that would be the obligation of the city as opposed to them [Valley Oaks Golf Course], because they would come in and only manage and operate,” Mascia said.

Now, with the lease agreement and Valley Oaks Golf Course operating the course as a tenant, the consultant pays a lump sum per month as a base rent, along with a percentage rate based on their generated revenue. In addition to managing it, it also must operate and maintain the course, as well as take care of any capital improvements that could improve the site.

“They can make it whatever they want it to be – within the reasons of the lease – and improve the business,” Mascia said.

To take care of its capital improvements, Valley Oaks Golf Course has a fund designated specifically to take care of the costs, which since the inception of the lease, accumulated approximately $775,000. Thus far, the consultant has invested over $230,000 into improvements like course accessories, tee leveling, tree maintenance, safety netting and bunker renovations.

The city of Visalia also has its own separate fund dedicated to address its own major maintenance operations for the golf course, according to Mascia. In addition to covering possible repairs or maintenance that fall into the city’s realm of responsibility as per the lease, it is also there to keep operations running in the case that the contract between the city and Valley Oaks Golf Course were to term out; or if the contract was cut short for any circumstantial reason.

So far, with the revenue collected through the lease agreement, the city has gathered over $846,000 in its fund for its share of capital improvements, maintenance, repairs, etc. for the golf course.

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