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Anaheim Drops Plan for Private Golf Contractor


ANAHEIM — A proposal to turn over operations of two municipal golf courses to a private contractor was rejected unanimously by the City Council on Tuesday.

The proposal by American Golf Corp. to run H.G. Dad Miller and Anaheim Hills golf courses lost the support of Mayor Tom Daly and Councilman Irv Pickler, who had supported the idea, following their review last week of a cost analysis by an independent management consulting firm.

"It's been a very educational process," Daly said. "We've all learned what the private sector is willing to pay and (city staff) is committed to meeting it, matching it and maybe beating it."

The council's action was a relief to opponents of the plan, who have shown up at several meetings this summer to voice their displeasure.

"I'm happy for golf employees and for the city, too," said Sharon Ericson, president of the Anaheim Municipal Employees Assn. "Those courses are definitely moneymakers for the city, and it would have been ridiculous to contract them out. There was no public support for it whatsoever."

American Golf's proposal to operate the courses would have brought an estimated $85,000 to city coffers annually for 20 years.

The private contractor would have made about $2 million worth of improvements to the irrigation systems at the courses and would have paid rent of $1.6 million a year.

Councilmen Fred Hunter and Bob D. Simpson have opposed such a move while Daly, Pickler and Councilman Frank Feldhaus had favored it.

Last week, the council postponed voting on the issue to give the city's Budget Advisory Commission a chance to review an independent report by KPMG Peat Marwick Management Consultants.

The commission agreed with city analysts, who said the financial benefits are minimal and do not justify the risk of losing control over the courses.

The study was ordered in June following conflicting testimony on how much revenue a private contractor could bring to the city.

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