Frederick would save little money by switching the Clustered Spiers Golf Club’s fleet of golf carts to electric models, the city’s aldermen were told Thursday. Also, the carbon footprint would rise significantly unless the city uses solar power there.
Switching the course’s roughly 75 carts from gas to electric likely wouldn’t save much money because each cart uses about 0.016 gallons of gas per day, according to Sustainability Manager Jenny Willoughby. She told the mayor and aldermen at a budget hearing Thursday that the carts are not driven long distances.
And the carbon footprint of electric carts would be about 3 times higher than gas carts because of the source of the electricity used to power them, she said.
The economics could change if the city creates a source of solar power at the course, which could lead to greater savings, she said.
The amount of open space at the golf course along the Monocacy River could make that feasible.
“It’s one of the spaces we can do a lot of things with,” Willoughby said.
Buying 75 new gas carts would cost about $272,000, General Manager Scott Peterson, a golf pro, said.
New electric carts would cost about $677,000, factoring in the needed electrical upgrades to the facility.
Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak asked if they could replace the fleet gradually, perhaps 25 carts a year.
Changes in different models over different years and upgrades to electric vehicles could make that difficult, Peterson said.
“One way or another, I would say we need to invest in some sort of fleet change,” Maj. Michael O’Connor said.
Alderman Kelly Russell said she’s looking for the lowest carbon footprint at the lowest possible price.
But Alderman Ben MacShane questioned whether the golf cart fleet was really where the city should focus on fighting climate change.
“I just don’t think that we’re getting our bang for our buck here,” he said.
budget reviewThursday’s budget hearing was part of a review process in which the mayor and aldermen hear from each city department before voting on O’Connor’s budget proposal, which has a $127 million general fund.
O’Connor can make changes to his proposal until May 14, and a vote is expected on May 19.
Thursday also included updates from the city’s Parks and Recreation, Planning, Human Resources and Risk, Legal, and Economic Development departments.
The city could gain an additional 13 parks totaling 300 acres in the next five years as various communities develop around the city, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Bob Smith told the aldermen Thursday.
To help deal with that growth, the department is requesting three new positions in the proposed budget — an assistant park superintendent and two tree technicians, he said.
The new properties would add about 5,000 new street trees to the city, bringing its total to about 17,000.
The Planning Department is asking for a new planning tech to help ease the load on the city’s development review staff, Deputy Director of Planning Joe Adkins said.
The office has had two years of being short-staffed because of staff departures and other factors, he said.
Meanwhile, he said, the department’s workload is at or above pre-COVID pandemic levels.
The city has adopted a more proactive method of searching out potential employers, Human Resources Manager Megan Sims said, including using the Handshake app to reach out to college students in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
The department will be working this year with the city’s equity and inclusion manager to implement the city’s diversity and inclusion initiative to increase the diversity of the city’s workforce, Sims said.
Meanwhile, the legal department will work with the Frederick Police Department to rewrite some of the department’s general orders to help implement the Police Accountability Act of 2021, City Attorney Saundra Nickols said.
The department will also update the rules of procedure for the Board of Aldermen, among other responsibilities.
The Weinberg Center will move its staff offices out of the building’s basement and into a building next door at 18 W. Patrick Street in fiscal 2023, Economic Development Director Richard Griffin told the aldermen.
The theater will also replace its marquee, he said.
And the city’s Parking Department will work on a design plan and logistics for the eventual demolition and reconstruction of the Church Street parking garage, Parking Manager Steve Johnson said.
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