City Manager Cynthia Curry told the Gainesville Audit Committee that Ironwood Golf Course is ready for a management watch now that a finished audit report gives staff a place to begin revamping operations.
At Monday’s meeting, officials said they don’t want the city to lose another golf course, but currently the course has a high-risk audit finding and fails to bring in sufficient revenue.
“We purposely waited until this audit was complete so we could use the information from it to feed our process,” Curry said at the meeting.
In May, budget cuts included Ironwood Golf Course. Curry told the City Commission in June that instead of closing the course, her office would place the operations on a management watch and work to bring the course to a sustainable level.
Those talks came after a state audit also highlighted concerns with Ironwood Golf Course.
The city’s audit office presented their study findings to the committee on Monday and said that the course lacks proper procedure and oversight controls.
City Auditor Brecka Anderson listed seven supports for that claim, including 80% of reviewed checks being processed late, incorrect purchase card transactions, no effective program to track inventory and lack of documentation on facility rentals.
Curry said her team will now work based on those findings and have recommendations ready by the start of the next budget process.
Roxy Gonzalez, director of parks, recreation and cultural affairs, said the roadblock is looking at how much money is being spent on the course versus how much revenue could be gained. She said that she’s transferred one of her staff to ensure all invoicing is up to date on the course.
She said a lot of the work is establishing processes, like an employee manual, versus operating the same way as always to bring the operations to city and state standards.
“When I became director, a year and a half ago, there were some concerns that came up with processes,” Gonzalez said. “It just wasn't cohesive with what the department was doing or what the city was doing. It was a lot of ‘it's just been done that way.’”
Mayor Harvey Ward said the city may need to change its thinking on the golf course to improve. He noted that other cities run their courses differently and that Gainesville should be able to capitalize on other courses closing in Alachua County.
“I would like the city of Gainesville to continue to have a municipal course,” Wards said. “But I think probably treating it the same way that we have treated it over the last many decades doesn't give us the best opportunity for success.”
He said the finished audit begins the initial conversations on the course. Audit committee member Herold Monk said the course has already seen some signs of improvement.
“Your gross profit is being maintained and actually increasing, which is a good thing, especially since we've lost almost all the golf courses in Gainesville,” Monk said. “We don't want to lose another one, so it's trending well.”