Minnesott Golf & Country Club looks to Town for lifeline

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Attendance encouraged for Public Hearing on Aug. 13

MINNESOTT BEACH – Should taxpayers subsidize a private entity?


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First laid out in the late 1960s, the 149-acre golf course in Pamlico County’s southwest corner was once a thriving operation. Old-timers recall membership rolls of more than 300. Golf, of course, was enjoying its heyday – the names of famous professionals like Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Billy Casper,

Jack Nicklaus, and many others – helped drive the sport to dizzying heights.

Fast forward exactly 50 years. Today, the times they are changing. The course, pool and associated buildings are now appraised at $1.4 million – but current dues-paying members have declined to just over a rumored figure of 70.

The predicament mirrors the fate of other smallish courses and country clubs throughout the nation.

Minnesott Golf & Country Club needs financial help. Reportedly, the town has been asked for a ballpark figure of $270,000. That money would presumably go to pay off two separate mortgages.

The town would then own the site, which would be leased back to the club for $1 per year.

Here are the relevant minutes from the town’s June 11, 2019, meeting:

Minnesott Golf & Country Club property purchase update – Mayor Fowler said he had spoken last week to the president of the golf club, Ed Kujat. He was told the club was looking at other options for the sale of the MG&CC property. Mayor Fowler said he cancelled the public hearing because it was questionable the town would move forward with the purchase of said property. Commissioner Garfinkel said he wanted it on the record that the club had approached the town about purchasing the property because they were facing possible foreclosure and/or bankruptcy. He said the reason the Town of Minnesott Beach entertained purchasing the land was to help stabilize the property values in town. Commissioner Garfinkel said he would not approve getting into a bidding war over the property. Commissioner Hall wanted it on the record the current outstanding tax bill for the golf club as posted in the newspaper is $7,286.91. Commissioner Murphy said she was very disappointed that the club’s board of directors had not honored its side of the oral agreement and had decided to entertain other offers.

Since that June 11 meeting, any other pending deals have apparently fallen through. A new public hearing has been scheduled for 7 pm on Tuesday, Aug. 13 when the issue will again be on the front burner.

This newspaper reached out to Country Club president Ed Kujat and to town officials: Mayor Tim Fowler, and Commissioners Pete Hall, Adam Garfinkel, Starr Murphy, and Cliff Braly. For the most part, the group has been tight-lipped.

To her credit, Murphy issued a brief statement in which she said: “I just want Minnesott to know we are truly interested in and value their opinions, and hope they come to the meeting.”

Fowler, responded that he is “looking to put something together that we can send to the town’s email users. Hope to have it done by Tuesday (Aug. 6) next week.”

A town-owned golf course would mean that the MG&CC property becomes exempt from both town and county property taxes. In effect, property taxpayers throughout the county would be subsidizing a private club.