Ratchet’s lease OK’d at Rockwood Golf Course

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By Cindy Simpson

A new lease means Ratchet’s Bar and Grill operator Sharon Rector Miller now pays an additional $100 a month.

Originally Miller paid $800 a month for her use of the facility at the Rockwood Golf Course.

Some city officials view Ratchet’s as an asset and the lease as a necessity.

“Our golf course would be in trouble if they weren’t out there,” said Councilman Jason Jolly.

Councilman Pete Wright, who said he used to be heavily involved with the golf course, agreed.

“I would concur it is a great asset,” Wright noted.

For others, it was not that Ratchet’s isn’t a good thing for the location, but that the city is paying the utilities.

In the view of Councilwoman Peggy Evans, the city footing the utility bill is equivalent to subsidizing private business.

“I do not know any other business we subsidize by paying the utilities,” she added.

In fact, Evans argued, finding out how much the city was paying just for utilities at Ratchet’s itself was why the city spent $5,000 to have the meters changed around to get a more accurate picture of what is costing what regarding utilities at the course.

Councilman Mike Freeman also questioned the point of redoing the meters.

He said the council should take a look at the utility rates before deciding if $900 is enough to cover the utilities and as rent.

Evans, who said Harriman has no restaurant at its municipal golf course, noted that a Ratchet’s employee was recently cited for selling alcohol to a minor.

When Councilman James Nuckols asked if the restaurant had been cited, representatives for Ratchet’s said no.

However, a Rockwood Police Department report said an employee at Ratchet’s was caught during a sting, and the waitress seemed confused when trying to check the undercover minor’s identification.

Some city officials countered by talking about the expenses paid at Rockwood Municipal Airport and the little income that comes from it.

Thus far, officials said, they’ve received less than $100 in revenue for the year from the airport.

They argue they get a significantly higher percentage of sales tax revenue from Ratchet’s.

Evans, a big supporter of Rockwood airport, estimates $40,000 a year could start coming in when the t-hangars are completed and are rented for aircraft storage.