In the continuing debate over Calhoun County acquiring the Calhoun Country Club (golf club) the following is offered by Calhoun County Council Chairman David K. Summers, Jr. of District 1, for your consideration.
To the Residents of Calhoun County,
The Calhoun Country Club (golf club) is currently a semi-private club and, until damage sustained over the previous two hurricane seasons (2015 & 2016), remained in a good state of repair and was frequented by players, not only from surrounding counties, but across the country as well.
The golf club offers a hilly course which can't be found elsewhere in the midlands or into the coastal regions. This makes the golf club very desirable for golf enthusiasts. It is important to note that the course is also currently used by area schools’ golf clubs so it is not unusable in its current state.
But the storms of the past two years left devastation that is too much financially for the members of the club to overcome. It has fallen into some disrepair and as a result has seen less traffic than in years past. This means increased expenses and decreased revenue. Not a good combination.
The Board of Directors for Calhoun Country Club approached the County about leasing the golf club with an option to purchase. The details of the lease with option to purchase hasn’t been completely negotiated so no details can be offered.
However, the county currently receives $170,000 per year from South Carolina's Accommodations Tax. It is estimated that approximately 50% of this tax would be needed to operate and maintain the golf club annually. No millage increases would be expected to support this project.
We’ve had community projects, athletic fields and activity centers, in nearly every district which were paid for using a combination of funding options just as this project would. The difference is that this is more of an investment than community project. It is expected to bring in those golfers lost as the grounds fell into disrepair. Once the course is updated and placed back into a competitive condition as well as offering county residents another activity it is expected to be at least self-supporting in the long haul; a tax neutral alternative to allowing the property to close, fall into further disrepair, and thereby lowering tax values of the surrounding homes.
I and Vice-Chairman Haigler -District 5 and Councilman Thornton-District 4 ask that you hold your judgement until the negotiations are complete and you hear the details. We voted to proceed with negotiations. We did not vote to buy a golf club. We see merit in the county obtaining it but, like you, need to hear the details of the negotiation before making our final decisions.
On behalf of the entire Calhoun County Council, I thank you for your interest in this issue and look forward to hearing from you on this and all other issues concerning Calhoun County residents.
David Summers, Chairman
Calhoun County Council - District 1