Rye Golf Club is starting a whole new season, in more ways than one.
Since the departure of general manager Scott Yandrasevich – who is accused by the city of a massive theft from the club – two committees have been exploring ways to better manage the property and oversee finances. Rye Golf is essentially a city-owned country club, where about 19 percent of Rye households belong. The club operates as a separate fund, paid through resident- and non-resident membership fees.
The Rye Golf Club Commission, an advisory panel elected by the members, plans to assume more oversight on finances, taking part in decisions about any new contracts and expenses over $2,500. In a meeting with the city council Wednesday night, the commission discussed ways to formalize that process.
Looking longer-term, a city-appointed Strategic Committee pitched a number of options to explore: hiring a third party to operate Whitby Castle restaurant and catering facility, or outsourcing the entire restaurant, pool and golf operation. Councilman Peter Jovanovich has proposed moving the pool operation into the city recreation department.
The club has run at a loss since 2009, while membership dues increased. The surplus account has been dramatically reduced since the city took over Whitby Castle restaurant from a concessionaire in 2006, according to the committee’s report.
Both reports are available online (click for pdf) as part of the city council agenda. The conversation will continue with another council workshop July 10. The council’s report on its investigation into Yandrasevich, now the subject of a criminal probe, is available here.
City Manager Scott Pickup said the club is running $600,000 behind in revenue compared with 2012. That may reflect the restaurant’s closure through March of this year, incentives offered to renewing members, and general bad press.