Proposals to raise City golf fees on the table

By Ramsay Wharton

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Debbie Montero and her husband like to golf three to four times a week at public courses like at West Loch in Ewa Beach.

She says she understands why the City is looking to raise fees to play rounds at city courses.

"I'm all for raising the rates to offset the cost, but not such that you're going to break even right now, that's just impossible," Montero said.

City Councilman Tom Berg, who is against raising the gas, sewer and property taxes on residents, says golf is different.

"We should no longer be subsidizing those things that are taking away from the core service that we all need that you have to survive on. You have to be able to flush your toilet," Berg said.

According to Councilman Berg, there's about $9 million of taxpayer money that goes into subsidizing six municipal courses every year.

Berg supports raising golf fees, but across the board, not just a four-dollar hike on seniors that's currently proposed.

"I have a proposal that merely says, if you play a round of golf it should be at a rate in which it is self sustaining. So the six municipal on the island of Oahu should really charge a golf fee so that they are self sustaining, and so the rest of us who don't engage in that activity aren't subsidizing that fee," Berg said.

He suggests City golfers pay a flat rate increase like $20.

"I would be willing to pay that price to you know to upkeep the golf course to playable conditions," golfer George Oya said.

"The user fee concept should be that if you're gonna raise the sewer rates, or you're going to raise the rates at the zoo whatever it is, give us quality of services," Berg said.

"It's been reasonable all these years. So, we don't mind a little raise, to pay our share," golfer Ann Kobayashi said.

"My husband and I would like to golf three to four times a week. And maybe we could only do it twice a week so if he raises it too high, then I'm only going to golf twice than four then you're losing money that way," Montero said.

"What we have to pay we have to pay, we'll pay," Oya said.

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