Kemper $oft Cost$ for Golf Course

ted0from Ted Noftall
.Newton ,
Since you chose to not answer a direct yes or no question as requested, but rather respond as you did with a 250 word answer ending in a question I must conclude not answering direct questions is in part at least some kind of joke with you.
Whether that is the case or not, the exchange was worth the effort to me because it provided a venue for others to examine our respective arguments. I am betting that others and especially Council will not be swayed by your fuzzy logic and ever expanding list of other considerations that has now grown to include ” class warfare ” of all things.
It is true that the city has a commitment to see that facility operated a golf course for another 7 years if it wants to retain ownership of that acreage. It is also true that commitment can be filled in any number of ways other than committing today to close for renovations in May 2015 absent performing any due diligence what-so -ever.
The far more prudent course of action right now is to defer this decision until the Kemper contract is behind us so as not to have to absorb their obscene soft costs, AND use that time to consider all the options for sustainable operations and to provide the type of detailed analysis taxpayers are deserving off.
Sorry you don’t see it that way, but then again I don’t know how you see it as you have never clearly said.
Ted Noftall
for responsible government – 2016
newtonFrom: Newton White []
Sent: Monday, December 29, 2014 10:05 PM
To: Ted Noftall
Cc: ‘Bob Ford’; ‘Drew Bastian’; Scott Stiltner; ‘David Harden’
Subject: Re: Kemper $oft Cost$
I really do not know how more clear I could be if your would read what I took the time to write you privately.
To put it very clearly from the information that we have been shown during golf board meetings and in documents, our city agreed to operate and maintain the golf course for 30 years. The work described to dig up the greens and replace the soil and replant and reshape bunkers is a predictable need in maintaining a golf course. We, our city, can do this and continue to have a viable golf course that may be able of attract enough play to pay its way with proper management and finance, or we can not.
If we do not, I feel it is not honoring the obligation our city made. You seem not only willing but eager to walk away from an obligation. Yet you insist we hold contractors to their contracts and the city accountable for the flooding. Like I asked you in the earlier email is it OK to stop making payment on a car because it is a lemon or needs repairs?
No, I do not like having to argue for reasonable “soft costs” or carrying expenses or that the purchase of the work is less scrutinized than you would like. I still cannot understand why you have taken up to trying to kill this one issue by diversion, and class warfare. It is plain and simple, does the city fulfill its obligation to the citizens or not.
Newton White
ted0From: Ted Noftall
This discussion is going nowhere because you are refusing to address the decision at hand with clarity preferring instead to add yet more confusion now in the form of the ‘shitiness of the deal’ to the ever changing kaleidoscope of good intentions and other considerations.
I believe you are doing yourself and others a disservice by speaking with a purposeful lack of clarity.
For about the umteenth time the decision before us currently does not encompass any of the trivia you have been enumerating.
The decision is a simple one – to go ahead at this time, OR defer until a later date the proposed renovations slated to start on or about May 1st 2015
I vote defer because of the rushed manner in which this decision is proceeding absent any due diligence analysis what-so-ever.
My good friend Bob Ford has decided the opposite irrespective of what the final scope of work will be, or its final cost and irrespective of not performing the due diligence analysis that one would might consider a pre-requite for such a taxpayer expenditure in an operation losing money hand over fist in an industry with a shrinking market base.
I disagree with his decision profoundly but I respect his clarity. I would like you to be equally clear in your answer thus
My question to you is a direct one
Do you favor going ahead with the Golf Club renovations in the spring of 2015 based on the scope, and cost, and analysis that has been presented to date ??
Will you please favor me with either a yes or no answer.
Ted Noftall
for responsible government – 2016
newtonFrom: Newton White []
Sent: Monday, December 29, 2014 11:42 AM
To: Ted Noftall
Subject: Re: FW: Kemper $oft Cost$
The shitiness of the deal is not a reason to fail on the obligation the city made. We should point out the inequity we should point out the shortcomings of the R&R we should question the poor purchasing process, we should put it in our notebook to not make contracts that have no out for poor performance.
Until then we should hold our city as we would our own business affairs to make good its obligations regardless of them being bad decisions.
Put our energy to the distinct issues that caused this and the other poorly administrated operations and contracts. If we can cure the causes we will have fixed the issues.
Like it our not as a strategy for the betterment this is a fight best left let it pass and use the poor examples as a platform of things to fix.
I do not understand why you would want to find a way of neglecting the obligation. not just to the 959 registered voters in the Cypress head development (29% republican) but to the cities reputation to fulfill its obligations. Is it ok to not provide drainage to the Dunlawton area because we got a bad deal or it turns out to cost too much, or not pave roads because asphalt is to expensive. Is it ok that mowing contractors are doing shoddy work. the only thing warm or fuzzy about the waste and abuse of the taxpayer dollar is the heartburn, but until enough people step up to pay attention it will continue.
ted0From: Ted Noftall []
Sent: Monday, December 29, 2014 9:42 AM
To: ‘’
Subject: FW: Kemper $oft Cost$
I believe the City has and is continuing to make imprudent financial decisions to a large degree because,
* it has and continues to make those decisions based on warm fuzzy mush rather than hard analysis, AND
* it has and continues to make those decisions not against a back drop of sound un-changing principles, but rather against an ever changing kaleidoscope of good intentions and other considerations.
Your answer is replete with those good intentions and other considerations including references to R&R fees, Halifax Paving, Property Tax, Flooding, Harbor Oaks, Allendale, Paving roads and Poor planning — ALL Of WHICH while worthy of consideration in their own right contribute nothing beyond confusion to the decision at hand which is whether or not to go ahead with renovations to the golf club in May 2015.
I have argued not because of the rushed manner in which this decision is proceeding absent any due diligence analysis what-so-ever.
I am un-clear as to what you are arguing, or on what basis you are arguing it.
The only thing I have concluded is that your reasoning would fit right in with that of Councils past and present.
Ted Noftall
for responsible government – 2016
newtonFrom: Newton White []
Sent: Friday, December 26, 2014 10:35 PM
To: Ted Noftall
Subject: Re: Kemper $oft Cost$
The only certainty I see is that we taxpayers will be paying for the golf course. Moral coward? I see it differently The city made a thirty year agreement and should not go back on it, period. You are at the head of the pack, with halifax paving not fulfilling their agreement. What is different with the city, they are not fulfilling their obligations on flooding although they collect for specifically that in property taxes, they were storing money instead of paving roads, they have ignored harbor oaks and allendale since they were annexed.
Why am I the only one that wants to know what has happened with the R&R surcharge money or where it is or went. Heck they cannot even get the information of when it was implemented and what rules administrate it. That money should have been sufficient to restore the course on the golfers wallet, not our non golfing wallets.
other comments below
ted0From: Ted Noftall []
Sent: Friday, December 26, 2014 8:31 AM
To: ‘’
Subject: RE: Kemper $oft Cost$
Thank you Newton,
I do not share the certainty you must possess, absent a due diligence analysis and objective verification, Nor am I comfortable with the logic of your conclusion based on the considerations you have referenced.
You state that course work is known and needed before its 30 year commitment is up, which is to say within the next 7 years.
Ok So tell me when exactly, where exactly and at what close approximate cost is that work to be done, AND provide the objective source or sources that support your answer ?
The work is overdue and, I feel it is not right to take care of the course correctly. Not that I trust kemper or staff but it was in one of the golf meetings we were shown what other courses spent for similar work and it is in line with what was reported in news about private courses getting redone
You state that the City needs to get out of the Golf Course business at the end of its 30 year commitment period, AND at that date golfing may be floundering worse that it is today.
By that logic explain why you would spend additional taxpayer dollars on refurbishments that are understood to sustain the course for another 20 years or more, RATHER THAN a reduced expenditure targeted to sustain the course to your 7 year event horizon, which is to say the end of the City’s 30 year commitment at which point you want the City out of the golf business ??
Not that it is right to skate from the obligation to maintain the place. What information do you have on costs of a cheap way to to rehab. I have seen nothing on any other option
You have stated that while the City should never have gotten into the golf business it has to keep on spending none the less.
Tell me why the convenient argument advanced by those fond of saying that ‘ we should never have gotten into this or that, but now that we are we have no choice but to keep on spending ‘ should be regarded as anything short of MORAL COWARDNESS, the common trademark of intellectual appeasers always willing to sacrifice their purported principles rather than deal honestly with what are often painful decisions ???
Would you condone defaulting on a car loan because the car was a lemon? Not paying the dinner check because it was not as good as you felt it should be. The city made a bad decision I recall some of the arguments, about daytona spending on their course and it as come to roost. We bought a 30 year obligation to a golf course the lack of management, lack of oversight of council on management are the cause of this expense and in no way should a poor performance of past leadership be an excuse for breaking the responsibility
If the residents directly adjoining and closely adjoining the golf course wish to see it preserved as a golf club then they need to be closely involved in making it a viable club.
Individual Councilmen are doing the residents of Cypress Head a disservice in offering them the naive expectation that City taxpayers, [ facing future water and sewer rate increases for as far as the eye can see — the vast majority of whom do not play golf, And do not even know the Cypress Head Golf Club is owned by the city ] can be muscled into funding annual shortfalls approaching $300,000 per year, AND advance new loans when the fiscal performance of the Golf Club is so dismal that payments on existing loans cannot even be made.
They screwed up by not planning the R&R every body I have asked says between 15 and 20 years. Now it is a crisis of sorts and instead of writing a check it is running up the credit card. back to poor management and oversight.
I want to see a viable golf course in Cypress Head for the long term and not just for the next 7 years, and for that to happen the golf club needs to become financially viable, and not being a crony capitalist but rather an unabashed proponent of our market driven capitalist system I believe the likelihood of Cypress Head Golf Club becoming a financially viable course would be greatest if it were privately owned and operated.
I do not pretend to have the best answers at this time, BUT I feel more than confident that the insane pace with which cram and jam decision is being advanced absent any due diligence what-so-ever is unlikely to benefit anyone for very long.
Poor prior planning and the cram and jam time tables are not going to change very quickly. It is either do or don’t do it. Now is the time to plan better for other things in the city before repairs become a crisis and cost more than they should. The vehicle lease program is a good example of planning for replacement.
The council or golf board should look into if the agreement would allow the lease or sale of the course and if so what stipulations would have to be in the agreement. That way when the kemper contract is up in 2 or 3 years we will be ready with options besides which company to hire as management.
and I do not think their is any disagreement that the operating soft costs are out of line to somewhere off the rails
Responsible is planning against crisis and for the future can we get there?
Ted Noftall
for responsible government – 2016
newtonFrom: Newton White []
Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2014 2:54 PM
To: American Forwarding
Subject: Re: Kemper $oft Cost$
The only reason I agree to rehab the golf course is that the information I have is that the city made an obligation to run and maintain the course for 30 years. The course work is and was known to be a need before the 30 years. The club house improvements are different and given even less of a solid plan I would like to see it be deferred until after the contract with Kemper is over. I feel a more involved operator of the F&B operation could be found (maybe with their own liquor license) to pay the city a steady rent.
Their was a discussion and price comparison on course costs and the cost presented was within the brackets on normal.
My writing on the “soft costs” is agreement with the excess and unexplained needs. I guess furloughing or laying off unneeded workers, or cutting hours is not a choice in the minds of government/municipal folks. Surely these workers could be offered work either by Kemper or the city doing something even if it is just picking up trash. Or they could collect unemployment, like everybody else when they are laid off.
Again so you are clear the city should not have gotten in the golf business, and needs to get out when the obligation is over, until then grin and bear the cost of poor management.
Oh and the other thing the R&R fund see the finical statements. No one can produce the documents establishing that surcharge or fund, no one can provide an accounting of expenditures or balance. No one knows when or who established it I have been asking for 3 weeks and word is I have not got an answer because they do not have it to give, and I guess are unwilling to admit that this has been collected on paper and nobody knows why or where the money is.
The course I far as I know was to sustain it’s self and has failed terribly due to poor management and lack of oversight by councils past.
In 7 or 8 years golf will either be back in style and have some revenue and interest or it will be no argument that it is a money pit the city needs to unload.
ted0From: American Forwarding []
Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2014 2:04 PM
To: ‘’
Subject: RE: Kemper $oft Cost$
Merry Christmas Newton,
I will have to take your word that we disagree on rehabbing the course, because I do not know your position on this or a number of other issues.
To be clear on my part —
I will support any expenditure of private funds, AND no expenditure of public funds ABSENT A THOROUGH DUE DILIGENCE ANALYSIS.
To my knowledge no due diligence what-so-ever has been undertaken regarding the proposed $1.6 million Golf Club rehab.
Ted Noftall
for responsible government – 2016
newtonFrom: Newton White []
Sent: Friday, December 19, 2014 7:01 AM
To: Ted Noftall; Ted Noftall JM
Subject: RE: Kemper $oft Cost$
Not only your outrage and valid points about the soft costs, a good deal (most) of which is unneeded it begs to further question the contract we are in.
If I recall the city (we) pay 80K a month in management to Kemper? What do we get for that if we are paying all of the line items in the G&A section? computer service, contract cleaning, off site storage, fax, bank, cell phone, insurance(whose insurance), postage, travel.
What is $2250 for driving range revenue? is it closed or open during rehab?
No golf no F&B. needs to be closed more so if the building is getting worked on.
Golf shop? What are these for? it does not make any sense, unless you are trying to justify an arbitrary cost number.
Does anyone have the contract for services? Does it define what we get for the management fee? If the city is paying payroll and all of the line item expenses down to office supplies and professional dues education and training there is a big problem.
The city should look at what it would take to get out of this contract while the course is closed and reopen with a new operator at a better deal.
I know we disagree on rehabbing the course and that is a separate discussion. I do not agree on getting ripped off and this laundry list of expenses looks to be a new level of taxpayer abuse.

One thought on “Kemper $oft Cost$ for Golf Course

  • December 31, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Thanks for sharing. Newton brought up some really good points and I think he is correct on this one.


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