Golf Course Irrigation System on Hold Until Election

by CYNTHIA KMETT

The irrigation system that keeps Sylvan Golf Course green is 50 years old. For a number of years, the city has known of this need and been saving for a new system. On the table at the last Troy City Council meeting was a contract for materials and labor to replace the irrigation system at Sylvan Glen Golf Course as specified to Commercial Irrigation & Turf, Inc, of E. Peoria, IL, for an estimated total of $988,965; at unit prices contained in the bid, plus a 10 percent contingency fee if something else should need repairs or updates.

Mayor Dane Slater, however, was not too sure that this was a good time to commit over a million dollars to an irrigation system with the November 7 election looming. Billy Casper Golf, which manages both Sylvan Glen and Sanctuary Golf Course, and has made them both more profitable for the city, has a contract that expires in May 2018, which puts them out of business in Troy if the proposed amendment that says voters get to vote on contracts in November elections passes.

Billy Casper Golf, which manages over 140 golf courses in 29 states, has been responsible for keeping the lawns watered up to this point. Mayor Slater seemed very concerned that if the charter amendment passes, Billy Casper Golf will not be willing to work with Troy under any circumstances.

If we want to keep playing golf in Troy, Mayor Slater pointed out, the city will have to return to operating the courses itself next summer, and that means hiring and training a lot of new people. He thought the city should hang on the million dollars for just such an outcome.

Since the irrigation system often needs repairs because of its age, Councilwoman Edna Abrahim observed, that since this would be what the city faced on every expiring contract it would put the city in a ridiculous position. “How can you ever run a city with this lack of predictability?” she wondered.

Council agreed, and the contract is now on hold.

In other business, council unanimously voted an extension of medical marijuana caregiver grow operation moratorium.

A municipality cannot prohibit medical marijuana caregiver grow operations under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA), provided there is compliance with the limitations set forth in the act, but can enact ordinances that are not in conflict with State law. “Caregivers” can grow 12 marijuana plants for up to five other licensed users, and 12 for their own use. Some raids in the city have shown these limits might be being stretched.

While the state was deciding what new laws might be forthcoming, on April 24, the Troy City Council passed a resolution imposing a moratorium prohibiting the issuance of building permits for new medical marijuana caregiver grow operations under the MMMA for a period of 180 days to allow City Council to consider additional regulations that are designed to minimize the detrimental impact to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the City of Troy. There are a number of such grow operations in commercial buildings.

But, since the state has not issued any new regulations at this point, City Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm has asked for another 189-day moratorium. She also noted that the state has already said that no matter what kind of enterprise someone might want to be part of in the growth, distribution or sale of marijuana, they can’t apply to the state for licensing before December.