Coyote Run dumps electric golf carts in favor of gas

The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District is done with electric golf carts. It’s going back to gas carts.

Park commissioners wanted to make certain they were making an environmentally sound decision. In the end, they agreed to purchase carts run on gas after extensive research by Tom Denklau, Coyote Run Golf Course manager, who looked at 10-year lease and purchase options for electric carts, lithium ion battery carts and gas carts.

Denklau gave commissioners 23 different options submitted by three vendors.

“The consensus leaned toward a gas purchase based on the 10-year cost, the longevity of the carts and the value of the carts after five years,” he said.

Denklau said sales staff and a service manager recommended moving to gas carts. The downsides to electric carts: the batteries would be replaced twice over a 10-year period, and the general cost of repair would go up on an electric cart in the last three years of a 10-year lease.

The park district originally had a five-year lease for the current electric carts, but by year four Denklau and his crew noticed the batteries were wearing out and the contract didn’t have a stipulation for battery replacement. 

The park district extended the lease another three years so that the batteries would be replaced at the distributor’s expense, but the lease extension cost the park district an additional $53,000.

The park board approved a $324,210 contract plus $2,000 for insurance to purchase 68 Yamaha EFI Quietech golf carts, a beverage cart and a utility cart from Harris Golf Cart Sales. The payment will be spread out over five years. Golf cart fees in 2019 will go up by $1.

Denklau talked with vendors, watched videos and used the carts before offering his advice to the board. In the end, Denklau said the Quietech cart was “noticeably quieter” than the others and only 6.5 decibels higher than the electric carts. It is 13 percent more fuel efficient and gets an estimated 45 miles per gallon.

“With our golfers used to the quiet ride of electric carts, the Yamaha Quietech is the best choice to meet our goal of reducing noise. The Quietech also provides the most fuel efficient model of the gas options, meeting our goal of being environmentally friendly,” he informed park commissioners.

In other business, the board approved the $11,974 purchase of LED lights from Helsel Jepperson for the Racquet & Fitness Club. Switching bulbs throughout the club, except the tennis courts, is expected to yield a $20,700 energy savings.

The board approved payment of $6,648 to George’s Landscaping for change-orders at the Splash Pad during renovation this past summer. Work included the demolition and removal of the old splash pad foundation; parts necessary for the reinstallation of the chemical controller; and repair of existing electrical feeds for underground lights damaged or destroyed during installation.

The board also issued $1.27 million in general obligation bonds to cover prior obligations, annual capital projects and the golf carts. The bonds were purchased by Park Ridge Bank at 4.75 percent interest. Last year's bond sale had a 2.66 percent interest rate.

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