- Kent Casson
Ludwigs reveal golf simulator plans
The owners of a new golf simulator business to be located inside the new OB’s Cervezaria appeared before members of the Chenoa City Council Tuesday evening.
Bobbi and Brian Ludwig plan to open Iron Cave Golf this summer and outlined their business details to the council.
“It’s looking really nice in there,” said Bobbi.
The Ludwigs expect Iron Cave Golf to bring residents of nearby communities to Chenoa once it opens. Educational activities are planned and they will reach out to local golf coaches, reminding them this is an additional tool to use.
“We plan on doing leagues in winter,” Bobbi explained.
This business would provide a local place for people to experience golf in the off-season or when it is raining. Participants can log in to continuously see their analytics in order to get better.
“I think it’s a great marriage between OB’s and Iron Cave Golf,” noted Brian.
Mayor Chris Wilder explained to the Ludwigs most city TIF agreements with other tenants have been rental agreements to reimburse rent payments for a certain number of months. A lump sum is also possible or so much per year.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the Ludwigs strictly presented information on their business and have not yet given the city a formal request for funding assistance.
“Obviously, what you are doing is going to benefit the community and surrounding communities,” said Wilder.
Wilder urged the Ludwigs to work with finance and insurance commissioner Kyle Buchanan and ask for an amount, noting the city will see what it can do to help.
A liquor license for OB’s was also discussed at the meeting. An ordinance has not been written yet for the brewing side of the business, but the liquor license is ready to go, according to the city. OB’s is also applying for a gaming license.
“Everything is spot on,” explained Wilder. “They have their proof of insurance and everything they need.”
Business owner John Cerda said he would like to have all of this in place by July 4.
“It’d be nice to have that liquor license by then,” he said.
The matter will be put on the agenda at the next City Council meeting.
In another matter, the council approved the city budget, appropriating funds from May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. The mayor noted one change was made on the budget to pay for parts the city ordered which should have been paid for last year. This purchase was for the sewer plant and had to be moved into a different line item.
“Most things did not change as far as I can tell you,” Wilder said of the budget. “We did very well last year in all departments.”
Everyone did a good job staying under budget, according to Wilder, and showed a balance in the black at the end of the year instead of in the red. New body cameras were approved for the police department and fuel remains a cost concern, although not much can be done about it.
The general fund shows a budget surplus along with the TIF fund, debt service and business district. There is a deficit in the water and sewer fund, although this tends to get budgeted for a worst-case scenario. All of the combined city funds have a net budget deficit of $209,689.
Commissioner Buchanan offered the motion to approve the budget ordinance for the Fiscal Year.
Mayor Wilder revealed Caleb Painter has turned in a signed letter of resignation due to personal reasons and conflicts. Painter was just recommended in May to fill the vacant Water and Sewer Commissioner position on the council. Painter replaced Jay Bell who resigned for personal reasons soon after being named to the post and Bell had replaced Lee Reinhart who announced his resignation back in January. Painter was the third Water and Sewer Commissioner in under six months.
An ordinance re-zoning certain real estate was approved. There were some minor changes which needed to be made for a prior ordinance. The city attorney recommended the city pass the ordinance as is.
“They got everything in the right subdivisions and where it belongs,” Wilder said.
The group approved minutes of the regular May 24 meeting along with executive session minutes and special meeting minutes from May 26 along with the bills.
Streets Commissioner Dwayne Price reported the drainage was completed in the new playground area and the city is working on drainage issues on Crittenden. Some part-timers are helping to clean up the city and crews are prepping for the Chenoa 4th of July celebration.
Acknowledging the times we are in, the mayor said he is not going to propose raising rates but reminded the council garbage rates are set by contract and will go up. Water rates can be controlled. Wilder would like the council to look at ways to help individuals in need and pointed to a fund from the Silliman Trust as an example.
“I think we need to find a way to help those in need.”
Resident Joseph Bell expressed displeasure with the idea of what he referred to as opening “a can of worms” by using tax dollars for this. Cerda said maybe other things could be done to help people instead.
“It’s great that you’re thinking about doing something for people,” Cerda commented.
“We’ve got to think about how the community is going to come together,” Wilder concluded.
Following an executive session, the council voted to increase pay for the assistant swimming pool manager to $13.50.