Whitefish Council looks at mortgage for golf course remodel

Whitefish City Council on Tuesday will consider whether to allow the Whitefish Lake Golf Club to secure a mortgage on the golf course property.

The city leases the golf course property and associated buildings to the club per an agreement approved in 2011. Now the golf club is looking to remodel and upgrade the existing club house in excess of $200,000.

Council is being asked to approve a resolution approving the mortgage that would secure the golf club’s financing for the project.

Council meets on Tuesday because of the New Year holiday. City Council meets at 7:10 p.m. at City Hall, 418 E. Second St.

Council is also set to consider a resolution establishing the Whitefish Community Housing Committee, which renames and changes the membership of the city’s previously established Whitefish Strategic Housing Plan Steering Committee. The committee will continue to work on housing issues based on the city’s Housing Roadmap.

Prior to the regular meeting, Council will hold a work session beginning at 5:45 p.m. Council will return to discussions on locating a community solar project at the city’s wastewater treatment plant property.

Council is set to take a look at an agreement provided by Flathead Electric Cooperative that would allow FEC to lease about an acre of property from the city to install a community solar facility.

FEC has constructed two similar facilities over the past several years. The facilities are managed and maintained by FEC and the solar panels sold to FEC members.

At the Whitefish site, FEC would provide the energy output from one panel as a credit on the city’s electricity bill, which is expected to help offset the energy usage at the wastewater treatment plant.

If the agreement is approved, FEC will apply for a USDA Rural Energy for America Program grant for about 30% of the project cost at about $140,000. To apply for the grant, the project must be designed, bid and a contractor selected.

FEC may also qualify for the federal government’s tax credit for solar projects, according to a city memo.

WIth the federal programs, the panel cost per member is expected to be significantly reduced to between $400 and $700 rather than the original estimate of $1,000. FEC has a waiting list of members interested in purchasing solar panels.

Installation of a solar facility at the wastewater treatment plant was identified in the city’s Climate Action Plan as one of the four priorities for energy-saving actions.

Features Editor Heidi Desch may be reached at 758-4421 or hdesch@dailyinterlake.com.

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