City weighs better deal on golf carts

HARLINGEN — A better deal is giving some officials second thoughts.

Now, the city is mulling saving $30,000 in the purchase of a gas-powered golf cart fleet for the Tony Butler Golf Course.

Later today, city commissioners are expected to consider entering into an agreement with Club Car to buy 65 golf carts for $211,389.

As part of the city’s plan, commissioners would rescind last month’s agreement with the Yamaha Golf Car Co. for 65 golf carts at a cost of $240,257.

That agreement has not bound the city, spokeswoman Irma Garza said yesterday.

“The contract has not been signed,” Garza said.

As part of the proposed agreement with Evans, Ga.-based Club Car, the city would trade in its fleet of 75 electric-powered golf carts in order to receive $126,250.

Under the Yamaha Golf Car’s agreement, the electric fleet’s trade-in value would come out to $82,500 — $43,750 less than Club Car’s offer.

To finance the purchase, the city would use the golf course’s $38,000 golf cart depreciation fund to help make the first year’s payment of $48,287.

The city has cited several factors behind its decision to replace the electric fleet made up of 25 2014 carts, 25 2015 carts and 25 2016 carts.

Gas-powered carts are more cost-efficient than electric carts, which require new $700 batteries about every three years, Assistant City Manager Carlos Sanchez has said.

Currently, he said, the electric fleet requires about $50,000 worth of new batteries.

The city’s current lease agreement also requires a $40,000 December payment to keep its 25 2016 carts, Sanchez said.

At the golf course, cart rentals are part of the daily operations.

Last year, rentals generated $126,210 in revenue, Sanchez said.

Sanchez said the city “took a deep and hard look” at replacing the fleet for the golf course, which has run a deficit for about five years.

With annual expenditures of about $1.2 million, falling revenues have left deficits ranging from $48,324 to $302,587.

Yamaha Golf Car Co.

Total cost – $240,257

Trade-in – $82,500

Annual payments – $54,444

Club Car

Total cost – $211,389

Trade-in – $126,250

Annual payments – $48,287