On Wednesday, Sept. 28, the Montebello City Council approved a $60 million bond, two weeks after authorizing a $16 million bond to renovate the city’s golf courses. Operated by Dallas-based TopGolf International TopGolf.
The Council, by a 5-0 vote, approved a bond that would bring the average annual debt service of the TopGolf project to $4.7 million.
The issuance of bonds is an opportunity to reshape the course and serve the better for residents, alderman Salvador Melendez said.
The planned TopGolf project at a city-owned golf course will include a three-story driving range complex/structure with approximately 102 hitting bays. restaurants and entertainment venues. Outdoor seating/patio area. parking; approximately 15 acres of miniature golf course;
The City Golf Course itself is located at 901 Via San Clemente.
TopGolf will pay approximately $1.1 million in rent to cover annual debt repayments and the cost of a $16 million bond, said Treasurer Michael Solorza.
“The overall goal is to make this revenue neutral and possibly profitable,” says Solorza. “The goal is to eliminate golf course subsidies provided by the General Fund.”
The General Fund has provided more than $8 million in grants since fiscal 2010-11, city manager Rene Bobadilla said in a staff report.
“This is revenue that could have been used for community-wide initiatives such as paving roads, improving facilities, purchasing emergency vehicles and expanding services,” Bobadilla wrote.
State auditors, in their December 2018 report, recommended that the city take some action to address this ongoing subsidy, he added.
However, some opposed the $16 million Bond plan to replace the 18-hole course with a 9-hole course that included a putting green area and a new 6/10-hole par 3 short course with lights. They also opposed his TopGolf plan.
Project critic Ricky Garza accused the city of making a backroom deal and transferring city assets. Some ask why an 18-hole golf course couldn’t coexist with top golf.
The problem, Solorza said, is that the golf course is in the red. Yes, it’s generating about $3.9 million, but it cost about $4.5 million in landscaping, water, electricity, and operating costs.
He said the new golf course should cost less.
Construction on the new golf course has already begun. A $16 million bond sale also closed on Wednesday.
Construction of the new golf course is scheduled by September 2023 and construction of the top golf facility by November 2023.