Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) In its last year of managing Larchmont Golf Course, Missoula County on Tuesday approved the facility's 2023 budget, granting a small funding increase for wages and fuel.

Andrew Czorny, the county's chief financial officer, said the facility opened in March and logged a record year before shutting down for the season.

“It got off to a rip-roaring start, then the April rains slowed us down,” Czorny said. “It got really hot in July and august and play leveled off, but October was awesome. Long story short, we ended up with a record year.”

The course logged around 45,000 rounds of golf this year and Czony said the course generated around $1.2 million in revenue.

That marks an increase of $105,000 over the prior year.

“For the coming year, there's no change in fees,” Czorny said. “They were raised last year.”

The new budget includes a slight increase in a number of areas, including around $2,500 for fertilizer and chemicals, $1,000 in gas and oil, $1,700 in advertising and $2,000 in debt costs.

The budget also includes an increase of around $25,000 in wages across the board. The lowest position at the course remains a ranger who gathers golf balls, which pays $10 an hour. The top position pays $18.50 for course administrator.

Czorny said the budget kicks around $125,000 back to the county and sets $120,000 aside for the irrigation fund, which pays the debt on the course's irrigation system.

The county's contract for managing the course expires next December.

Last year, a team of developers proposed a project to redevelop the course into a new mixed-use neighborhood including housing, medical, retail and office. In exchange, it offered to build a new course nearby.

The county denied the request and instead directed staff to explore other county land holdings. That report hasn't been released.