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Council discusses replacing golf pro

Ruby View golf pro Brad Martin discusses his position before Elko City Council Tuesday evening at City Hall.

ELKO – Golf pro Brad Martin, members of the public and the Elko City Council hashed out multiple issues facing Ruby View Golf Course on Tuesday.

According to city records, the course is running at a $188,967 deficit this year.

Council members discussed a proposal to hire a new golf pro unless a contract extension is agreed upon between the City of Elko and Martin Creek Holdings LLC by Dec. 31.

“I will remind the council that the golf fund operates as an enterprise fund and that revenues are supposed to cover expenses,” said Elko City Manager Curtis Calder. “You can see that we are running at a deficit. There is a transfer of $25,000 from the recreation fund to reduce that to $163,967. Financially, the golf fund is not doing all that well.”

Even more troublesome, Calder said, was the decline in players over the past three years.

The golf pro contract is very clear, according to Calder. He said he sent a reminder email to Martin on May 10 about extending his contract for another two years but received no confirmation as to the future of the relationship.

“The financial condition of the golf course enterprise fund is really driving the decision,” Calder said.

Hiring a new golf pro would take several months.

Other issues besides financial losses are behind the suggestion to replace Martin. According to an email from Calder to Martin there has been a continued problem with keeping the main gate closed at night. The need for this arose after the clubhouse was broken into in.

“I appreciate you bringing this forward Curtis,” said Elko City Councilman Robert Schmidtlein. “When this item was posted it was unclear where we were going with this entire agenda item. I think you have cleared the air about where we potentially need to go.”

“I love what I do, I love our golf course,” said Martin. “I work very hard to make sure Ruby View is as top notch as it possibly can be. I have every intention of filling and finishing this contract. I have every intention of working through the extension, and I have every intention of fixing the problem of which, apparently, has brought it to this point, of securing the front gate of the clubhouse which is, from what I understand, why we are all here wasting our time.”

Martin said playing golf is on a downward trend across the entire nation. He also said the merger between Newmont and Barrick resulted in lost revenue due to canceled venues. Two months of bad weather in the spring also hurt the course, according to Martin.

“If the gate was the only thing I don’t think we would be here talking about this item right now,” said Mayor Reece Keener.

One of the people speaking in Martin’s defense was former Mayor Chris Johnson.

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“We have a petition here signed by about 147 people, mostly golfers,” he said. “We the golfers at Ruby View Golf Course encourage that the Elko City Council renew the two-year option with the golf pro Bradley Martin. The numbers I am seeing tonight are surprising. I would want to see more about how those numbers came about. But, I don’t think it’s fair that we would all of a sudden come up with an evaluation of the golf course and put it on the golf pro. I would say this process is going a little too fast to make a decision that would be fair to the golfers that support Brad and to Ruby View.”

Keener mentioned that the newly renovated Spring Creek Golf Course may have taken away from play at Ruby View.

Speaking as a member of the original golf course financial advisory committee, John “Wil” Moschetti said, “If anyone understands the numbers and math of what goes on at Ruby View, I think it’s me. First off, I am disappointed that I found out this was even on an agenda by a phone call yesterday.”

Other golfers took the podium to stand up for Martin and his continued employment as golf pro. They also asked about getting more city support for renovating the clubhouse.

Martin said Calder’s email was a complete surprise.

“Going forward to this point I had every intention of sitting down and discussing the contract extension after October, after the season is over,” Martin said.

“The only two parties that can extend [this contract ]are the city council and Brad,” Calder said. “I am going to clarify a couple of things going back to May that led me to believe that Brad wasn’t so happy with his contract because he talked to our staff on numerous occasions. I realize tempers flare and people are frustrated, but when I hear that our contractor is an inch away from walking away from his current contract, that concerns me. When I ask, ‘nicely,’ for someone to comply with the contract and they refuse to comply with the contract, that concerns me.”

“I have to look out for the best interests of the city, not just the golf course,” Calder said.

“I understand the numbers are down,” said Begonia Hull. “I just have one question for everyone here. I guess I am not getting how replacing Brad with another pro is going to change that.”

“One option is you could probably negotiate better terms that would be more favorable to the city’s operation,” Calder said.

According to a city official, Martin is paid $6,182.65 per month for his golf pro services. He also receives $1,875 per month to pay for his assistant.

“We are responsible for taxpayer funds,” said “Councilwoman Mandy Simmons. “Whether we love or hate our current golf pro, I think that we really have to examine everything at the golf course or any fund that is losing money.”

Council chose to table the item with the idea of continuing the discussion at the next city council meeting.

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