Cobb not privatizing golf course, fast-tracking debt payments

Cobb Commissioners decided last week not to privatize the county-owned Cobblestone Golf Course in Acworth, and will instead continue an operating contract with Affiniti Golf Partners, and pay off outstanding bond debt earlier than scheduled.

The remaining two year’s of bond debt, totaling $1.1 million, will be paid in a lump sum this spring out of the county’s general fund, said county finance director Jim Pehrson. Paying off the bonds early is estimated to save $75,000 in interest expense. The lump sum payoff would be added to the $2.6 million loan the golf course borrowed from the county’s general fund over the years. An additional $300,000 will be added to the general fund loan to pay for new golf courts and maintenance equipment.

The course opened in 1993 and sits on land leased from the Army Corps of Engineers. During several years of operation, the course has not been able to support itself and has had to be supplemented by county funds. County officials considered privatizing the course, and requested bids, but that was not considered a viable option because of the long-term lease that could slow the debt repayment process. By fast-tracking the bond debt and establishing a 5 percent reserve for maintenance and replacement projects, Pehrson said, the county loan can be paid back by 2027, which is sooner than other options considered.