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City to pay off golf course loans early

In June, the city is expected to make its final payment on the Boulder Creek Golf Club revenue bonds, putting behind years of contention and controversy over the hot-button issue.

The City Council discussed the matter during its Tuesday meeting, much to the delight of council members and department heads.

Because of the renegotiated solar leases with Techren and KOMIPO, the city was able to free up more than $8 million in deferred revenue. And with a balance of $4.6 million on the revenue bonds, council members decided to pay the debt off in full instead of going to an accelerated plan.

After the final payment is made in June, a portion of the $3.6 million left over will cover the city’s additional loan used for maintenance and operation of the golf course, which is scheduled to be paid off in July, according to Finance Director Shirley Hughes. Any money left will be used for capital improvements.

The construction of Boulder Creek was a contentious issue for the city, according to numerous council members. The bonds, which were issued in December 2005 in the amount of $9.3 million, came with an interest rate of 3.85 percent.

Under the original payment plan, the bonds weren’t expected to be paid off until 2025. Under the accelerated payment plan, the debt would have been paid off by fiscal year 2017.

The city will save $2.9 million in interest by paying the remaining debt in June.

“It frees up money for the future,” Councilman Duncan McCoy said. “It also removes what was a bone of contention in the community.”

The council touted Mayor Roger Tobler for his assertiveness to tackle the golf course issue, including Councilman Cam Walker, who told a story about Tobler coming to his house about a decade ago to seek input about the situation.

“This is a big accomplishment, and his (Tobler’s) vision and foresight was there back when he was a councilperson,” Walker said. “I’m proud to see this move forward.”

Tobler was humble on the matter, refusing to take much credit. Instead, he commended city staff and his fellow council members for acknowledging the importance of paying off the debt years ahead of schedule.

“This is a huge deal and I think a lot of people deserve credit for it,” he said. “We are now keeping the golf course, and we’ll have a beautiful development behind it.”

Like his colleagues before him, Tobler echoed the sentiment that construction of Boulder Creek created division within the town.

“People drew the line over the golf course issue,” he said. “We had elections where people’s ideas were to close it and let it die. Could you imagine all those beautiful acres just dead out there?”

In other council news, the city was presented with a $1,500 grant from the Southern Nevada chapter of the International Code Council to provide free swimming lessons to children under the age of 4 at the Boulder City Pool.

Representatives from the Interstate 11 project also spoke about wanting to become more integrated into the Boulder City community. According to public information officer Lucie Moya, many residents have already come to visit the informational office at 1404 Colorado St.

“We want to make sure we’re part of the community and we’re not just in and out,” she said.

Contact reporter Steven Slivka at sslivka@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow @StevenSlivka on Twitter.

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