County renews golf deal

Published 10:50 am Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The agreement of allowing non-members to play golf at a reduced fee in the Cypress Cove Country Club was renewed 4-1 with one abstention during the Southampton County Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday evening. But as it was when first proposed in 2017, the deal was not without opposition.

A handful of residents asked the board not to renew the agreement the county had with the club.

Jim Hart, for one, told the members, “Turn it down. Last year it went over a like a lead balloon. I thought maybe it was a one-time thing, but here we are again. Ask the club to find a different way to raise their money.”

Cindy Edwards said she also opposes help the county club, and questioned what the deal has done for the county.

“Not a thing. I’m against giving a dime,” she said after suggesting that if parents want their children to play, let them pay.

Linda Vick of Newsoms told the board she appreciated the members having visited in October concerning drainage issues, but couldn’t believe the golf issue had come again. She told Supervisor Barry Porter, “If you vote for the golf [agreement], I don’t think you want to come back to Newsoms.”

Later, when the board discussion began, vice chairman Ronnie West acknowledged the opposition: “People are definitely against it,” then went on to say he “stressed with this decision. I see it as a good thing for the county. It’s an asset.”

West noted the community parks in the county, and said he would want money to also be set aside for children. He added, “We are a good community to live in.”

Carl Faison agreed that the country club is an private entity, but quickly said that it “does offer a public service. If offers something we can be proud of. I’m really torn here. But I have to go along with my feeling that this course is really an asset for the county.”

Randolph Cook pointed out that residents did use the golf course this past year. He cited the collected numbers that both Southampton and Franklin had played 1,124 rounds of golf from when the agreement began through this September.

“It was a success,” said Cook. “It was not a bad agreement.”

Whereas the city was in the original deal with the county — each giving $30,000 — this year Franklin was to make its own agreement. On Monday, though, the matter came to a 3-3 tie in city council, leaving that question unanswered for now.

Porter told the audience that he supports the deal not for himself.

“It’s a mischaracterization that I want this so that I can use it when I want,” he said, adding that illness has kept him from even playing golf.

Dr. Alan Edwards let it be known his position.

“I voted against this last year, and I’m even more adamant against it this year,” he said.

“This country club has got to become solvent on its own … solve its own problems.”

Bruce Phillips urged the board to consider giving some additional funding to recreation if it supports the golf renewal.

When the vote came, Phillips abstained; Edwards said no; and West, Faison, Porter and Cook said yes.

The county will contribute $25,000 to the club for the next year of the agreement.

Fees for non-members are going up to pay $27.50 for weekdays; $32.50 for weekend rounds.