Golf course contract

The Brookings City Council has drafted a new contract with the Early Management Team (EMT) that operates Salmon Run golf course after all involved learned how much money was needed to bring it up to par.

EMT, owned by Val and Gary Early of Brookings, took over operations last year and have been lauded for their efforts to restore the 18-hole course up South Bank Chetco River Road.

Repairs to water systems, the event tent, the greens, clubhouse and other elements have cost the managers $20,000 more than expected, and City Manager Gary Milliman has proposed the city reimburse EMT that money and adjust the city’s budget to reflect that.

It would reduce funding for capital improvements to $15,000 and authorize up to $25,000 this fiscal year for parts, materials and irrigation control systems.

The goal is to make the golf course break even, which it has yet to do since it opened in 1999. Problems have run the gamut, from iron-filled pumps to wood rot, non-potable water, flooding and, after the city ended its contract with the last management firm, hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills and overdue maintenance.

The city budgeted $40,000 for capital projects at the golf course this year.

“EMT has paid more than $20,000 for parts, supplies and an irrigation software subscription since June 2016,” Milliman wrote in a memo to the council. “It is not clear in the contract if the company is responsible for paying for these items. The city believes it would be unusual for a management company to provide all the parts and labor to repair city-owned facilities.”

Many expenses are due to overdue maintenance.

The council will discuss the new contract at its regular 7 p.m. meeting Monday, Aug. 14.

The new agreement would make EMT responsible for repair — and the city, for parts — of the irrigation system’s pipes, sprinkler heads, control boxes and software, require the city and EMT to craft a plan to address drainage to increase playable days, and develop an expansion plan or relocate the driving range.

Chetco Brew remodel

The Brookings City Council, sitting as the Urban Renewal Agency, will consider a request for $40,000 to pay for 30 additional parking spaces at an auto-body repair shop on Railroad Street that brewmakers Alex and Mike Frederick hope to transform into a brewpub.

But the city doesn’t have any urban renewal funds right now, noted City Manager Gary Milliman, in a report to the agency.

“No money has been budgeted … for any business assistance,” he said. “The agency could reduce its contribution to the Railroad Street improvement project, which would require the city to use fuel tax revenue and bump other projects, or borrow money from ODOT.”

Or it could borrow money from the city’s general fund contingency as it did with the Bi-Mart project in 2006. That fund currently has a balance of $626,500 and is being maintained at 5 percent of the budget, in accordance with the city council’s goals. It is typically used as a cushion as revenue fluctuates into the account.

This year’s budget includes $450,740 for debt on the $3.4 million downtown improvement loan from 2010, $391,860 for the Railroad Street work going on this year, $25,000 for reimbursing the city for agency administration and $10,000 for audit and budget publication notices.

Currently, Chetco Brewing Co. is located in a small spot behind Khun Thai restaurant. Renovations to the old Worlton Auto Body shop are estimated to cost $98,475. The $40,000 is requested to comply with city requirements to add 30 more parking spots to the existing nine. There is a dirt back lot that could be used for parking, as well, but the city has no mechanism to waive or defer parking space construction requirements.

The Fredericks hope to develop a tap room with a seating capacity of 120 and provide food service via food trucks parked outside and food carts inside.

The Urban Renewal Agency, which is funded by new-development fees, has been strapped for funds since the Great Recession and unable to grant or loan money since the 2007-2008 fiscal year when it made 24 matching grants to local businesses for facade improvements.

It is possible the South Coast Development Council could loan money to fill a gap in any funding. Other “non-traditional” lenders, such as Del Norte Economic Development and Community Lending Works have loan rates ranging 9 to 12 percent.

Chetco Bar Fire

Additional trails near the slow-growing Chetco Bar Fire, now at 5,026 acres, have been closed to the public.

They include:

•Upper Chetco Trail (Forest Service Road 1102), from Quail Prairie Mountain to its junction with Trail 1109 at Slide Creek Camp,

•Tincup Trail (FS Road 1117) and its tributary trail, Boulder Tie Trail, FSR 1117B), from its junction with the Upper Chetco Trail to where it ends along Darling Creek,

•Forest Service Road (FSR 4103-087) from the beginning of the gated road west to the terminus at Chetco Pass,

•Trail 1117 and all its tributary trails from its junction with Trail 1124 west to Tincup Creek,

•Trail 1124 and all its tributary trails from its junction with FSR 087 northwest to its terminus at Mount Billingslea Summit, and,

•Trail 1125 and all its tributary trails from Pearsoll Peak Trailhead north to its junction with Trail 1124.

The slow-growing wildfire, 23 air-miles northeast of Brookings, was started by lightning July 12, and is burning in dense foliage on steep terrain.

Fire crews have been building containment lines to prevent the fire’s spread as it heads northeast, rather than put firefighters at risk in the steep, craggy terrain. The fire is in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, as well, which precludes aggressively fighting the fire unless it threatens homes or other structures.

“The fire is being corralled by natural barriers such as streams and rocky outcroppings,” said Bob Houseman, of the National Incident Management Organization, which is organizing the efforts. “Firefighters will engage the fire when appropriate and it is safe to do so. Wood-chipping operations and contingency line construction outside the wilderness boundary are progressing well.”

Air conditions remain good on the coast and are deemed “moderate” in Cave Junction and surrounding areas where smoke continues to linger along valley floors.

Management crews say the incident will be a long-term event and will likely end with the coming seasonal rains.