$20,000 bonus approved for FCRA director

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 18 views 

The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority (FCRA) approved a 1-year budget at Thursday’s (Dec. 15) monthly meeting for the Deer Trails Golf Course. According to the Golf Course Committee Report, the 2012 Operating and Capital Budget for the facility will project a net loss of $67,500.

In addition to budget approval, the board also granted FCRA Executive Director Ivy Owen a two-year contract extension and a performance bonus of $20,000.

“We as a board have great admiration for the job Ivy (Owen) is doing,” board member Dean Gibson said.

Gibson, along with J. Michael Milton and Bob Evans were also approved with new five-year terms as board members once their current terms expire Dec. 31, 2011.

Concerning the golf course, Owen noted the net loss figure represents a worst case scenario wherein the current membership revenues rise from $60,000 annually to $90,000, and year-to-date income rises from $230,258 to $358,350. The budget as presented by the FCRA expects to raise total number of memberships sold from the existing 147 to 197 for 2012, though Owen is much more optimistic.

“We probably won’t have this course but for about a year,” Owen said. “We’ll be able to market this community-wide, and we will be competitive with other golf courses, especially nine-hole courses. We’ve looked into it, and our prices are far below others. With people migrating here from other courses and people in Greenwood looking to move closer to the area, I think we’ve got a lot going for us.”

Owen said the course could accommodate as many as 300 memberships, though conservative estimates of 250 were advised by the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Department of the Arkansas National Guard, former lease holders of Deer Trails.

Offsetting the increases will be a boost to expenses and repairs from $282,540 to $415,850, including around $55,250 in needed equipments and improvements, and miscellaneous depreciation of equipment totaling $10,000.

“We’re not going to be in the golf course business very long, but while we are in it, we want to raise our income as much as possible and decrease expenses as we go along. That $67,500 number is likely the most this property will lose,” Owen said.

Green fees of $35 per month for military personnel; $40 per month for government personnel; and $45 per month for the general public, will be applied. Individuals, who pay upfront, will receive one month free.

Additionally, the board passed two real estate recommendations from the Real Estate Review Committee (RERC). The first was to sell 47.5 acres on Chad Colley next to the Ben Geren Annex to Shire Incorporated for $475,000.

Shire Inc., had requested the FCRA assist with $70,000 to help with the building of a lift station and $50,000 for assistance in building an “old world European” entryway, but the FCRA denied the additional allowances, placing the ball back in Shire’s court for a possible counteroffer at the Jan. 19, 2012, board meeting.

Shire’s Justin Green said the company intends to “build 10 to 12 houses right off the bat,” and hopes to give what would be the first subdivision on Chad Colley its own feel similar to “how Cisterna feels like an Italian villa.”

The board passed a motion to sell 24 acres at Roberts Boulevard and Terry Street to COBC LLC, for $27,500 per acre, rejecting the company’s previous offer of $22,500 per acre, though the RERC recommendation is to provide sewer should the deal close. An additional 15 acres in the area would also be offered for $30,000 per acre as a 1-year right of first refusal to COBC.

A previous offer by COBC of $400,000 for 20 acres, in the same area, to be used as a small retail shopping strip, was rejected in November. COBC representatives were not in attendance Thursday.

Also Thursday, the board recognized Lieutenant Colonel Ron Brazell for his work as the on-site commander of Fort Chaffee. Brazell was reassigned to duty in Little Rock, and will leave Chaffee at the first of the year. Col. Vixen James will assume the command following Brazell’s departure.

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