Just weeks after laying down new seeds, sod and sand, the Miami Springs Golf & Country Club has selected some new golf carts to tear up the grass in style.
City leaders voted 4-1 on June 24 to lease 75 Yamaha gas golf carts for $259,000 over the life of the five-year contract.
But these are no ordinary golf carts. The 2014 model glacier-white rides come fully equipped with 12-horsepower engines, chrome hubcaps, a “Tru-Trak” front suspension and grab handles.
“There is virtually no carbon footprint whatsoever with these carts, because everybody has been working on the ecology part of it,” said city golf director Paul O’Dell, who filled the $83,000-a-year slot last April to run the golf and country club.
“The air quality is not going to be good for our residents around the golf course,” said Councilman Jaime Petralanda, the lone dissenter, who was skeptical of O’Dell’s decision to steer away from battery-operated carts.
Petralanda did not buy O’Dell’s argument that the 75 gas-powered carts would “not leave a carbon footprint.”
“We’re running out of power,” said O’Dell, who added that it costs $750 per cart for batteries that would last about a year. “[With] gas, you’re not going to get stuck out on the golf course.”
The city currently uses electric golf carts and has been having problems keeping the current stock of batteries charged.
“If you did your business correctly, you wouldn’t run out of juice,” Petralanda said.
The decision to lease the carts comes amid budget challenges that may force city leaders to increase its tax rate by 10 percent. City coffers are currently in the red by nearly $600,000.
Among the reasons for the upcoming budget deficit are the following:
• $50,000 in projected employee raises;
• $452,000 in projected losses at the city golf course;
• $75,000 toward projected pension-fund increases.
“This comes down to saving us $7.15 a month, per cart,” O’Dell said.