LOCAL NEWS

City Commission Rejects Muni Golf RFP

Howie Tucker

Victor Torres

By Kathleen Sloan

HERALD Reporter

Truth or Consequences City Manager Juan Fuentes recommended rejecting the two responses to the Request for Proposals the city advertised in February, which seeks a golf pro and golf course manager. The item was on the Tuesday, April 10, city commission agenda.

The current contract expired January 2011, and Fuentes requested the commission approve a month-to-month continuation of that contract held by golf pro Howie Tucker since 2007.

Victor Torres and Tucker responded to the RFP.

Fuentes said he wanted to revise the RFP, giving the city’s Golf Advisory Board, the city commission and public the opportunity to give input. Fuentes also said the upcoming budget “will be very tight,” and seeking means to make the golf course “more self-sufficient” is a goal.

Tucker is the “operator” for the city-held wine and beer license.

Fuentes said that aspect of the contract was left out of the RFP.

Fuentes also said he wanted to ensure responses were “more than just a resume.”

Commissioner Steve Green questioned what Fuentes meant by that, but no clear answer was given.

Fuentes said he had “received many letters,” but did not divulge their nature or who they were from, which may also be guiding his recommendation to redo this RFP process.

Terry Vandeventer, a Golf Course Advisory Board member, said Fuentes had agreed to accept input from the board, but then advertised the RFP two days later.

“I don’t mind being told no, but please, give us straight answers, if you would,” said Vandeventer during public comment.

Vandeventer said there was “one qualified applicant,” referring to the RFP requirement of a Professional Golf Association license. Tucker is a PGA pro.

Vandeventer questioned the city’s motives for requiring only the golf course to be self-sustaining, listing the parks and swimming pool as recreational facilities not required to break even.

“We came here for affordability. I know five couples that won’t be back” if the price goes up, he said. “And they spent a lot of money here. Since 1992 we have owned four residences,” he said.

Vandeventer said, “The course is in the best position it’s been in for 20 years.”

Tucker commented that, “The RFP changed the 2007 contract and has fictitious numbers in it.” He said during his interview, “I answered the questions truthfully,” implying he gave the true cost of maintaining the facility and its revenue-generating capabilities.

Commissioner Freddie Torres recused himself from voting on the motion to reject the RFP, stating his son is Victor Torres, the other RFP respondent.

The other commissioners voted unanimously to reject the proposal and to continue with Tucker’s contract month-to-month.

Green’s motion included having the Golf Course Advisory Board brought on as RFP advisors and that the new document be done quickly.

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