Petersburg golf course equipment repossessed by vendor

Petersburg golf course equipment repossessed by vendor

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Petersburg suffered another blow financially on Friday after a vendor repossessed equipment from a city-owned golf course.

The vendor repossessed landscaping equipment at Dogwood Trace due to nearly $10,000 in non-payment.

It's a scenic getaway for anyone who needs a day of leisure.

"We do quite a bit of marketing in the D.C., Philly, New Jersey area to those if you will, snowbirds who are traveling south," said Dogwood Trace Gold Course Manager Jamie Fagan.

The city says they are disappointed that the vendor took this course of action instead of setting up a payment plan with the city. It takes maintenance to keep the course so appealing. But Friday, Venture Turf Management arrived from Yorktown to repossess tractors, lawnmowers, and all of the landscaping equipment it leased to the city.

"I understand. I'm a small business owner and she's a small business owner so I understand her pain of not being able to get her full payment at this time," said Vice-Mayor Sam Parham regarding Venture Turf.

Just three months ago, another vendor repossessed $390,000 in new fire equipment because it hadn't been paid either. Parham says the city tried to make a payment plan for the landscaping equipment, but the vendor wasn't willing. It comes as the city is paying a turnaround agency some $350,000 to fix Petersburg's mess.

"Some folks will say, 'If we're paying this group, why should we be dealing with more repossessions?'" we asked Parham.

"We have a lot of positions open - City Manager, Finance Director, Public Works Director, Human Resources Director," he answered. Parham says filling those positions has become a priority.

Petersburg says they have plans to keep the golf course open.

The city has been struggling with financial problems and has hired the Robert Bobb group to get the budget under control, following "historic overspending" that put the city $19 million in the hole.

"This is just a small setback right now. It will not interrupt our operations," Parham said.

Fagan says because it's fall, the grass isn't growing heavily along the golf course right now, making it easier to maintain.

Earlier this year, over $390,000 in Fire Department equipment was repossessed, with another $32,000 worth coming under threat.

The city also cut millions from the school budget at a time when achievement scores remain below state averages by double digits.

The latest repossession comes only a week after School Board members traveled for a conference despite the budget constraints.

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