Poteau Residents Upset After City Council Approves Agreement To Fund Discounted Golf Program

POTEAU (KFSM)- Residents in Poteau are upset after the city council approved an agreement for discounted golf passes for kids, which would be paid for with taxpayer dollars. Some residents said the money should go elsewhere and others said they already have a fully functioning golf program that offers free coaching for kids.

The new agreement between the Poteau city council and the Wolf Ridge Country Club would cost the city $3,000 a month and would offer discounted tickets for kid's golf and provide golf clubs for use.

The Poteau Chamber of Commerce said decisions like this are geared toward what is best for the city.

"You have to make some tough decisions sometimes," Karen Wages, CEO of the Poteau Chamber of Commerce said. "Not always do I agree, but the community has their opinion, but in the end, it's all about Poteau.

Residents in Poteau are upset about the idea, many turning to social media to voice their concerns.

"I think it's wrong to use city tax dollars for an out of the city business," Mike Thomas, golf coach and camp coordinator. "I think the council members were not aware of what we were doing for golf already."

Thomas has been offering a free golf camp for kids at the Choctaw Country Club for more than a decade.

"[The city] is saying it's for a service, but we're already providing that service for free," Thomas said. "Our kids can play out here if they're in our middle school or high school golf programs; they play for zero."

Thomas said the money could be used for more important things.

"There's our streets, which I hear people talking about, the swimming pool, different things," Thomas said. "The railroad crossing, that's dangerous. [There are] a lot of things they could do with that money."

Some residents agree, saying the money could go to fixing up the city pool, a move the city council members said would cost more than a million dollars.

"I think we all just need to sit down, come to an agreement," Wages said. "Growth in the city is what we want."

The agreement contract will be finalized at the next city council meeting on July 3.

Thomas said a large group will show up at that meeting in protest of the decision.

5NEWS reached out to Poteau mayor, Jeff Shockley, but could not get in touch with him for comment on the city council's decision.