The question of whether to attempt to sell the municipal golf course is likely to be raised during the May 2022 election after a divided Devine City Council approved moving forward with putting the issue on the ballot at a Special meeting held last Tuesday, August 10.
The last day to order a General Election or a Special Election on a measure in the upcoming November election was Monday, Aug. 16.
District 3 Councilman David Espinosa emphasized that the election would just be to gauge public opinion on the issue.
“It’s not that we’re selling it already, we just want to have an idea,” Espinosa said.
Other Council members shared their thoughts and feedback gathered from their constituents since discussion about the prospect of the sale was postponed at a meeting in June.
District 1 Councilman Rufino “Flipper” Vega said his district was split “fifty-fifty right now,” while District 2 Councilwoman Angela Pichardo said that the land was an asset.
“And it was a gifted golf course to the citizens of Devine, and I believe it should stay that way,” Pichardo said.
District 5 Councilwoman Debra Randall said that though her constituents had “calmed down” since the June meeting, they still wanted the golf course sold with deed restrictions.
“They don’t want it sold just so it’s built on,” Randall said. “It would have to have deed restrictions. That’s what District 5 says.”
District 4 Councilwoman Kathy Lawler said that the people she spoke to felt uninformed.
“The people I talked to didn’t think they had enough information about what the golf course is worth,” Lawler said. “So I think we need to get more information out so they understand it.”
Mayor Cory Thompson said that the City wouldn’t know what the course is worth unless citizens vote to sell it.
“Then we actually go ahead and spend the money, because it’s going to take money, to get the appraisals done that we have to get done,” Thompson said.
City Attorney Tom Cate confirmed that Council will not be bound by the results of the election, and that if bids on the course don’t meet City requirements, the City does not have to sell it.
“The last time we were here, there were quite a few people in the audience that said they want deed restrictions, [that] if we sell the property it’s always going to be used as a golf course,” Cate said. “So that’s going to restrict a lot of interest, in my opinion, because [bidders] are going to have to have a golf course.”
A Vega-Espinosa motion to put the sale of the golf course on the ballot, most likely in May, passed 4-1 over Pichardo’s objection.
For more on the golf course, see separate article in this edition about the price of the clubhouse renovation closing in on $500,000.
The next Council meeting was scheduled for press night on Tuesday, Aug. 17.
By Marly Davis