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US Open generates revenue for Lakewood while drawing on city’s general fund

A grounds crew member peeks over the fence at the 17th green as his team heads out onto the course at the end of the second round of the 115th U.S. Open at the Chambers Bay golf course in June in University Place.
A grounds crew member peeks over the fence at the 17th green as his team heads out onto the course at the end of the second round of the 115th U.S. Open at the Chambers Bay golf course in June in University Place. Staff file

The U.S. Open helped and hurt the city of Lakewood financially.

“In total, the city netted a little over $16,000,” City Manager John Caulfield said this week. “However a good portion of that is restricted for specific purposes.”

The city saw a one-time, $32,000 boost in sales and lodging tax dollars, but had to draw $46,860 from its general fund to cover police overtime and public works costs associated with the June event at Chambers Bay.

“Even though we had a financial gain, we could not use that money to cover the cost we incurred for the U.S. Open,” Caulfield said.

The city estimates it collected $17,900 in lodging tax from the event. State law requires that money be used only for tourism-related activities.

Sales tax collections came in at $14,100. The city applied that to its general fund to help offset police overtime costs.

The city also received a $45,000 reimbursement for the use of Fort Steilacoom Park during the week-long championship. The USGA paid Lakewood $40,000 to use the park as one of its main spectator parking lots. Verizon paid the city $5,000 to put a communication tower in the park.

Instead of placing the money in its general fund to offset Open-related expenditures, the city opted to dedicate the money to improvements at the 350-acre park.

“Because the money was generated by use of Fort Steilacoom Park, we decided to make the investment into improvements for Fort Steilacoom Park,” Caulfield said.

As part of its agreement with the USGA, the city also required the golf association to repair any damage at the park caused by the daily use of vehicles. The city estimates the USGA will pay $3,700 for turf restoration costs.

Lakewood also has requested $4,159 from Pierce County for the use of the city’s marine unit during the tournament.

Lakewood police joined more than 20 other law enforcement agencies that answered Pierce County’s call to provide security at Chambers Bay. The city covered the majority of its own police expenses during the tournament.

“The city wanted to be good partners working with our neighbors on this,” Caulfield said about not asking for more reimbursements from Pierce County. “The city still benefited from having the U.S. Open here in our region.”

The city also planned ahead. It set aside $50,000 in its general fund to cover Open-related costs in 2015.

After adding the total revenue received, including the reimbursements and sales and lodging tax collections, and then subtracting the cost to pay for police, the city estimates it has a positive bottom line.

Brynn Grimley: 253-597-8467

brynn.grimley@thenewstribune.com

@bgrimley

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