With proposals for the purchase of Shiloh Springs Golf Club due later this week, the Platte County Commissioners are already moving into the next step in potential sale of the county-owned course.
At the Monday, Oct. 16 commission regular session, commissioners approved a request for qualifications for real estate brokerage services for the course, located just outside of Platte City. The proposals are due Friday, Nov. 17.
In August, the commissioners put out a call for proposals for those interested in purchasing the course and taking over operations outright. Those proposals are due back to the county Friday, Oct. 20.
Current commissioners Ron Schieber, Dagmar Wood and John Elliott have all voiced concerns about the county-owned course, which has operated at a net loss for many years. The current commission has long stated it intended to seek options with Wood and Elliott running successful campaigns last fall with the sale of Shiloh as a promise.
Within the county budget, Shiloh Springs is designated as enterprise fund, meaning that it should operate without a deficit.
“We are waiting to receive acceptable bids on Friday,” Schieber said, asking director of parks Daniel Erickson if the county would be bound to follow through with a potential broker if one of those bids is deemed acceptable to the county. Erickson said the brokerage proposals could simply be rejected and the county could move forward with whatever proposal it felt most appropriate.
Wood asked if this new brokerage RFQ included the option to sell Shiloh Springs as development-ready real estate instead of just a golf course. Erickson said he believed that could be specified at a later date if a broker were chosen.
“We just want to be able leave the door open for other options,” Wood said.
Constructed in cooperation with developer Gary Martin, the 18-hole 122-acre public course opened in 1995. The partnership with Martin continued for a decade.
In 2005, Platte County became sole owner of the course, which it values at approximately $5.2 million.
Over the years, the course was operated by both the county and private management. Construction costs were paid off in 2015, using funds from the half-cent parks and recreation sales tax. Shortly after, the county contracted with Kemper
Sports to take over management of the course, but the county’s only enterprise fund has continued to lose money.
According to the county’s annual financial report, Shiloh’s loss increased last year.
Operating loss before depreciation was at $144,553 in 2015, but in 2016, the loss rose to $247,448. Auditors reported the loss was a result of the KemperSports contract with the costs of the contract calculated into the loss statement, as were costs of benefits for golf course employees.
Shiloh Springs Golf Club members have been vocal about the future of their club with golfers attending past meetings to voice their concerns. None were present at the Monday meeting, but in August, commissioners said they hoped a group of these local golfers would band together to purchase the course.
Terms outlined in the August proposal request cite that Shiloh Springs must remain a public course for at least five years and must remain available for Platte County R-3 School District golf programs for at least five years, as well.
Although the county prefers to sell the course, it would also accept lease-purchase and other alternate, preferably local proposals. Schieber has said all options will be considered in order to find the best solution.