Polson Bay Golf Course set for new irrigation system


POLSON, Mont. - The Polson Bay Golf Course is getting a long awaited makeover, but it comes with a hefty price tag. The golf course received a revenue bond for $951,300. The irrigation project was successfully bid on earlier this year, and the irrigation materials request for proposal also was approved. Officials say they will pay the bond back over the next 18 years. Money to pay off the bond will come from the golf course's yearly revenue, which is around $1.2 million. Polson's director of Parks and Recreation, Pat Nowlen, says they've been waiting more than 11 years to replace the system. "It would be a huge loss to us if we didn't have good quality turf and a good backdrop for Polson," Nowlen said. "It's the signature look over that golf course and over the lake." The wait comes after an 11-year bond officials say they are paying off this year. The bond was used to complete the 18-hole course. Officials say they wanted to wait to pay that bond off to reduce the amount of debt they would have to pay before dishing money out for the revenue bond. NBC Montana asked officials what would happen if the golf course couldn't make its payments. Nowlen said they have reserve funds in case, but in the worst-case scenario, taxpayers would have to help out. Polson resident Jesse Barry says he's be more than happy to lend a helping hand. "I think this community would be happy to chip in for this golf course," Barry said. "As I said I think it's a big draw. The town needs something besides the lake to draw, so I think the community would be happy to help -- I certainly would be." The bond will carry an interest rate of 2.75 percent for the first five years. The rate will then increase to 3.375 percent for the remaining life of the bond. Payments are semi-annual on April 1 and October 1 of each year. Officials say they also added a loan for $300,000 to build a new private golf cart shelter. The payment on the bond and the loan will create an annual debt of approximately $100,000 per fiscal year, which officials say is in line with previous debt service payments the golf course has made in the past. Nowlen says 1975 was the last time a new irrigation system was installed for the first nine holes. He says work will begin in September and last about three months.

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