Chattanooga council looks at profits of city-run golf courses, e - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga council looks at profits of city-run golf courses, entertainment venues

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Three months into office and Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's administration is still dissecting how to operate several city-owned assets.

City council took its first hard look at the mayor's proposed budget Tuesday.

Several council members questioned the value of operating the Brown Acres and Brainerd golf courses. They also want to take a closer look at the Tivoli and Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium in downtown.

With a proposed budget before Chattanooga city council, Mayor Andy Berke's administration is working to answer important questions.

"How do we maximize the value of what we own as a city? How to we operate those assets efficiently? And if we're not operating them efficiently, what solutions do we have at hand in order to make sure that we can?" asks Andrew Kean, Chief Operating Officer.

Kean and other city administrators have hit the ground running trying to evaluate the value in city-owned facilities, like the Brainerd and Brown Acres golf courses and venues like the Tivoli and Memorial Auditorium.

"We've done that as it relates to golf courses and civic facilities. And we've identified a few things. One, the Tivoli nearly breaks even. Memorial does in fact lose a significant amount of financial dollars," says Kean.

Memorial Auditorium has seen a steady decrease in revenue. For the 2014 budget year, the city is projecting operating expenses to be $1,125,482, while only taking in $553,000. That is a loss of around $572,000.

As for the Tivoli, the city projects making around $136,000.

"The two golf courses, though, provide a positive net income back into the city general fund," says Kean.

When it comes to the golf courses, the city projects operating expenses to be $1,663,594, with revenues at$1,808,000. That is a profit of around $144,000.

"This course is in, probably the finest shape it's ever been in. The greens are perfect," says golfer Wales Standifer.

Standifer has played golf at the Brainerd course for more than 30 years. He sees the city-run courses as an asset and hopes the city is wise in its evaluations.

"We're definitely studying lots of different solutions to ensure that we manage the assets that the city owns in the most efficient way possible," says Kean.

The council has another budget work session scheduled next week. As a part of Mayor Berke's efforts to make government more transparent, he hosted a Twitter question and answer session Wednesday evening to talk about his proposed budget.

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