The Pierce County Council unanimously rejected a resolution Tuesday that would have unfrozen millions of dollars for projects related to the Chambers Bay Golf Course.
As a result, construction already under way on an entry road, site infrastructure and a trail through the course will halt Jan. 1, officials said.
Plans for a maintenance facility that would have served both the Pierce County sewer utility and the golf course likely will be scrapped, and a pair of parks planned nearby the course also are up in the air.
Work on the course itself will continue, but the planned May 2007 opening date is in jeopardy.
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County Executive John Ladenburg said afterward that he was "shocked" by the turn of events, which came during the council's last scheduled meeting of the year.
He blamed it in part on some council members who would like to see the controversial golf course project fail.
"I think since we did the golf course, some of the council members want to burden the golf course budget with other costs so it can't stand on its own, " Ladenburg said. "They want to say, 'See, the golf course can't pay for all these things Ladenburg said it could pay for.'
"We've thrown the public off the site, " Ladenburg added. "I think it's bad public policy."
Council members put the blame on Ladenburg, saying during the meeting that he inserted projects in the 2006 county budget without giving them enough time to study them.
"A lot of the angst right now is due to a lack of adequate time to sit down and lay out a process, " said Council Chairman Shawn Bunney (R-Lake Tapps).
Councilman Calvin Goings (D-Puyallup) called this a "sad time" and said the developments were a "crisis not of our causing."
He blamed it on Ladenburg's "constant pushing, pushing, pushing."
Before the meeting, council members were preparing to release a portion of the $19.1 million for the 930-acre Chambers Creek Properties they froze three weeks ago when they approved the 2006 county budget.
At the time, they said they were surprised to see funding for $3.8 million of projects in the county budget that weren't included in the $20.8 million golf course bond.
Since then, Ladenburg explained he was trying to save money by combining work on the golf course with other projects planned for the surrounding property. He requested the council release at least a portion of the frozen money to keep the work on track.
Council members drafted a resolution that would have released a little more than $1 million each for work on the entry road and site infrastructure, nearly $890,000 for work on a trail that winds through the larger property and the golf course, and $270,000 for grading work on a maintenance facility.
Officials said the maintenance facility is needed for the sewer utility, but the utility won't need all of the space immediately. The golf course would lease space in the building for several years, and later move into its own building when the utility needs the extra room.
But that plan came apart during Tuesday's meeting when the council introduced an amendment to the resolution that would have:
* Required the golf course project to repay 30 percent of the cost of the entry road to the county sewer fund.
* Identified two sections of Chambers Creek Properties for possible sale if the golf course runs into financial trouble - a site currently used as a school bus barn and a section known as the North Meadow.
* Requested county staff to review plans for the Soundview Trail to make sure it doesn't interfere with a possible future sale of the property.
* Required the golf course fund to repay the county sewer fund for the entire cost of the maintenance building.
Ladenburg, who addressed the council during the public comment period, said he didn't see the amendment until five minutes before the meeting.
As he flipped through the pages of the proposed legislation, Ladenburg said parts of it were illegal under state law, and he urged council members not to approve it.
The golf course couldn't legally pay for something the sewer utility needed, for example, Ladenburg said.
Public Works Director Brian Ziegler also spoke against the amended resolution, saying it ordered him to do things he could not legally do, such as seek the sale of land he has no authority to sell and spend money to construct a maintenance building for which he has no appropriation.
"I'm a good trouper, I'm a good public servant, " Ziegler said. "I'll do my best to make it work. But I'm not going to jail."
But the council voted unanimously in favor of the amendment, prompting Ladenburg to suggest they kill it.
Councilman Terry Lee (R-Gig Harbor) said is he is on the record as an advocate of the golf course, and he hasn't changed his mind about it.
But he joined the others in voting down the resolution, saying the council needed more discussion about which projects should be paid from the golf course budget and which projects should be paid from other funds.
Councilman Tim Farrell (D-Tacoma), who presided over the meeting because it was held in his district at the Wheelock library in Tacoma's North End, said it was best to "put the brakes on." Farrell added that he is confident things could be sorted out in the next month.