The City of Visalia, Calif.'s, city council approved the purchase of 100 Yamaha golf cars to replace its fleet at Valley Oaks Golf Course on July 15, Visalia’s city clerk confirmed. The total purchase price is $347,588.

The City paid for the purchase through a capital improvement project (CIP) surcharge collected for each round of golf played at the golf course as well as a $47,488 loan from the general fund reserve to be paid back with interest. The surcharge generates more than $300,000 per year and is used to pay down capital debt, according to the agenda from the City Council meeting.

The agenda stated that in 2004, the city council changed the way the golf course financed golf courts, purchasing vehicles instead of leasing. In 2009, the City purchased the existing fleet of 100 golf carts. Although the carts should have been replaced earlier this year, the City deferred replacement due to other equipment needs. “The existing fleet is beyond the manufacturer’s warranty, carts are in different stages of disrepair, and the overall fleet is in need of replacement,” the agenda summary stated.

Course Co, Inc., which operates the golf course, recommended the purchase from Yahama based on pricing per cart and the trade-in value amount. Two other manufacturers also submitted proposals.

The last fleet purchase in 2009 cost the City $244,965. The higher price this year is a result of the addition of a new product on each vehicle – a battery watering system to maximize battery life  – a higher cost from the manufacturer, a lower buyback price due to an older fleet, and lack of a $30 rebate available four years ago.

According to the agenda, cart rentals generate significant revenue. Cart fee revenues for the past three years averaged more than $400,000 each year.