Here’s what taxpayers would get if city does $3.4M Watertown Golf Club deal

Watertown Golf Club
Watertown Golf Club(WWNY)
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 3:43 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Watertown taxpayers are getting their first glimpse of exactly what they’d be getting if city lawmakers decide to buy the Watertown Golf Club for $3.4 million.

A special city council meeting has been called for Monday at 7 p.m. to approve an asset purchase agreement with club owner Mike Lundy. If they vote yes, it means the city will become the owner of the 18-hole golf course.

The assets include everything from the land to golf carts.

Here’s how the club’s sale price breaks down:

  • Land: $2.1 million
  • Buildings: $450,000
  • Assets: $250,000

Then there’s an entity known as 1 Thompson Park, LLC. Its assets include golf course maintenance and mowing equipment. The sale price of 1 Thompson Park is $600,000.

You can see the entire proposal and list of assets here.

The purchase also includes “a covenant not to compete that will be put into the deeds, which will limit the owner of Ives Hill Golf Course to operating no more than nine holes.”

Essentially, the deal would prompt Ives Hill owner P.J. Simao to reopen his club only as a 9-hole course, making the Watertown Golf Club the only 18-hole course in the city.

As part of the deal, “the Club will also release the City and Council Members Olney and Ruggiero from all liability in reference to the notice of claim filed by the Club.”

In May, Lundy filed a notice of claim against the city and specifically named Lisa Ruggiero and Cliff Olney, setting the stage for a lawsuit. Lundy made the move after council voted to eliminate a parking area near the golf course.

Under the asset purchase agreement, the city, Ruggiero and Olney would be released from all liability. Both Ruggiero and Olney are in favor of the city spending $3.4 million to get the deal done.

According to the city council resolution, “The purchase agreement does not include a release from any claims made by P.J Simao. Mr. Simao is not a party to the agreement, the golf course companies cannot provide such a release, and there are no pending claims to be released from.”

In a private deal between Lundy and Simao, Simao would be compensated for limiting the Ives Hill course to 9 holes instead of the current 18.

Lundy has said that if the city fails to buy the Thompson Park course by the end of the year, he will keep the Watertown Golf Club closed in 2023 and move forward with looking at options which include building homes on the land he owns.

Monday night, city council voted 3 to 2 for an appraisal to be done. Council members Pat Hickey and Sarah Compo Pierce as well as Mayor Jeff Smith said the public has a right to know the property’s value and question whether the appraisal will come close to $3.4 million.

Hickey has supported the purchase of the golf course in the past.

City Manager Ken Mix said city lawmakers will have to decide how the purchase is going to be budgeted.

He said the funds could come from the fund balance, the capital reserve fund, or American Rescue Plan Act funds budgeted for Thompson Park.

However, Mix said he’s concerned about using the ARPA funds “because there may be federal regulations pertaining to the purchase of property that I am not aware of, which could cause issues in an audit.”

He also said lawmakers would also have to amend the budget for the operational costs and capital improvement; a shelter for the golf carts would have to be built before next winter.

Mix told 7 News if city council and Lundy reach a deal Monday, a signed purchase agreement must be sent to the state Department of Finance and Taxation to confirm whether the golf club’s sales taxes are fully paid.