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City, School District Consider Fees on Youth Leagues

City and school district officials discuss the possibility of imposing extra park fees on the city’s youth leagues to help bridge budget shortfalls.

City and officials met with the presidents of the city’s youth sports leagues earlier this week to discuss the possibility of imposing fees on the leagues to help pay for the maintenance of the city and school district parks.

Glendora American Little League President Mike Gorski said consultants met with the city’s youth league presidents a few weeks prior to research the possibility. Gorski said the proposed rate ranged from $5 to $12 per player.

The city is also researching a suggestion by Mayor Pro Tem Joe Santoro on imposing parking fees at where a few of the youth leagues practice and host games.

“My concern at that time and still is the fact for the last three years we’ve been forced to make numerous reductions to the city budget, including maintenance of the different parks including Louie Pompei,” said Santoro. “I don’t want to see the parks deteriorate because the lack of maintenance.”

The city will need to make $1 million in cuts to bridge a budget shortfall. According to Community Services Director La Shawn Butler, the department has had to make $305,000 in cuts, including layoffs in maintenance positions.

Butler said maintenance on both Louie Pompei and parks cost $380,285. The total maintenance on Louie Pompei Park alone costs 374,578.68, said Butler.

Youth teams at Louie Pompei Park pay $12 an hour for light use of the park. Adult teams pay $20 for the first hour and $15 each additional hour.

While the proposal is still in the research phase, it had already sparked some protest via e-mail and an online petition.

The meeting with city and school district officials aimed to diffuse mounting anxiety within the leagues since consultants met with the league presidents.

“The city wanted to iterate that the plan isn’t as far along as the consultants had us believe,” said Gorski.

The city is currently creating a joint use agreement with the school district for shared parks, including the parks at and middle schools.

But the initial proposal still has league presidents concerned. Gorski said imposing extra fees on top of the money and hours leagues spend into the maintenance of the parks would put further strain on the leagues.

“We have nearly 400 kids in our league. Lassie and soccer have well over 1,000 kids,” said Gorski. “When you put a fee on each of those kids, it becomes a pretty tough pill for some of the leagues to take.”

Gorski said his league puts in 5,200 hours each year in the maintenance of the parks the teams use.

“Our league does not come up with a big balance at the end of the season. What we bring in, we spend,” said Gorski. “We’re concerned that anything on top of what we’re doing is asking an awful lot.”

However, Gorski said following the meeting, he felt assured the city and school district officials understood the leagues’ efforts in park maintenance.

“I think the public can be assured that our decision process here is highly interactive with the community as just demonstrated by the numerous budget discussions with Commissions, the public workshops and several City Council meetings,” said Butler. “The same would certainly be true with any new fees or fundraising concepts.”

B.C. May 24, 2012 at 03:32 PM
As a parent of a child that participates in several of these leagues, I would not be opposed to paying an extra $12 at registration time. BUT, I only have one kid so I'm sure parents with multiple children would have a much bigger issue. The ridiculous part here is paying for parking at Pompei...are you kidding Santoro?? What will happen when parents start parking outside of the Pompei gates because they don't want to pay $5 to park every time they go to the park which is sometime 3 or more times per week if you coach, volunteer and have a kid playing? You going to turn the neighborhood streets into permit parking like around Sandburg when all those residents start screaming about cars being parked in front of their houses 6 days a week? How will parking be handled at the middle schools for those sports leagues? Will it be a part of the joint-use agreement or will you guys bow out and say it is the district's property and therefore you have no authority to charge for parking which will basically give those leagues a free ride when it comes to this ridiculous idea. According to police reports the past couple of months, there have been more than a couple of thefts of vehicles at Pompei Park. If this terrific idea goes through, since parents will now be paying for parking, can it be considered to be secured parking. What do we get in return for paying a fee?
Reviews May 24, 2012 at 04:02 PM
The fees for soccer and Lassie are already costly, especially as noted with multiple kids. They add $5-$12 now with no budget fix in sight, then they add another $5 here and there. When will it end and will it really make up for the possible loss of participation as families look for other options?
W J May 24, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Of course the City officials are going to assure everyone that it's just talk at this point. Bad ideas always get their start that way. Fees? Really? What we are really talking about is a tax increase on leisure for children. How many families won't be able to pay the extra fees and will find their kids smoking dope at the skatepark instead of practicing on the ballfield???Glendora PD will love that! I have an idea...lets hire more police with the money we don't have to keep the crime in check. So, if we don't pay the fee and don't participate in the youth programs, will the lawn mower at Pompei cease to do it's job? The grass gets cut no matter who is there. I hope the youth leagues are smart enough to deduct the amount charged to them by the city from the amount of money they spend out of their own budgets maintaining city facilities. It's a sure bet that the city will end up spending far more than they take in. As for the parking fee idea....I hope the owners of the Marketplace and the residents of the area adjacent to Louie Pompei Park are ready to start complaining. I see huge headaches headed to Santoro and the council. Want to diffuse the mounting anxiety? Come up with a plan that doesn't punish the youth and families of our community. Stop with the stupidity.
R C May 24, 2012 at 05:04 PM
The city and officials have no idea exactly what "maintenance" is being done by city staff and what is being done by league volunteers. For example, during league season league volunteers are responsible for policing city trash cans and empting those same trash cans, maintain and keep all bathrooms clean and usable, and any other maintenance. Is this not a city responsibility? Lassie softball league has spent their own funds, time and resources to maintain the fields at both Pompei and Finkbinder to included leveling and replacing dirt to keep the softball fields playable. Is this not a city responsibility? Lassie has had to use its own funds to repair and replace backstop safety mats. Is this not a city responsibility? These examples are just the tip of what is done at league expense. The park is open to all, are the leagues going to be held responsible with a fee for maintenance of those fields when they are not being utilized by the leagues? With the city plan it would seem so. I would have no issues with paying an extra fee for maintenance of the fields if all the funds collected were utilized for such. Meaning the city staffs the parks during league play to empty trash, keep the bathrooms clean and handle maintenance the leagues are forced to do now, and to maintain the fields in the condition the leagues maintain now and enjoy. As for the pay parking, are you kidding me?
R C May 24, 2012 at 05:05 PM
As for the pay parking, are you kidding me? As a volunteer I'm at the park sometimes three times a day 7 days a week. Am I supposed to pay for parking every time I show up to do maintenance to the facility that the city should be doing? Why is the parking fee only being considered at Pompei? Why not Finkbinder Park, the school fields, Teen Center, or even maybe down town Glendora? In no way under any circumstances, will I support a parking fee at a tax payer built park or facility. This just smells of a way to fill the cities general fund at park visitor’s expense.
MellowMaverick May 24, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Paying to park at any of the fields seems like a poor idea. The only way I could see it justified is for games on saturdays only (I also think just charging at Pompei and nowhere else seems unfair) at least that would only be one day. R.C., if your assessment that the city is not maintaining these parks and facilities rings true then they SHOULD step up and do a better job. If they want to levy additional fees of any kind, the fields, restrooms, parking lots and everything else should be pristine and functional!
B.C. May 24, 2012 at 06:07 PM
On second thought, I would pay a parking fee at Pompei. If, and only if, the city agreed to take every penny paid and dump it right back into Pompei in the form of maintenance and staff costs. Collect $500k a year at Pompei through parking fees, spend $500k a year at Pompei in maintenance and staff time. Not $100k at each ballpark and any additional to events like snow day.
JC May 24, 2012 at 06:28 PM
The City has no idea how much maintenance is being done by the leagues and their volunteers. At the baseball fields at Goddard, on any given Saturday, it's the volunteers who are cleaning up, making sure the bathrooms are clean, picking up trash, etc. (In fact, trash is also picked up by students doing detention at several schools.) Lynda Denman almost single handedly maintains the Pony field and facilities, including running the Pony program, and Ted Haller maintains the Little League fields. On any given day, including the summer, you will see them up there mowing grass, cleaning, and supervising crews of players to maintain the facilities. Can someone tell me exactly what the City does, besides providing the grounds, for the baseball programs? And they are going to charge US? Seems like we should be charging them! Oh, but don't forget the City has the time and energy to explore the construction of walking trails, and to send out surveys on park usage. How in the world would they pay for walkling trails and dog parks? Someone at City Hall is living in a dream world and it's time to wake up. Furthermore, I can't believe they'd have the audacity to charge for parking. If it weren't for volunteers, this city would fall apart. Now they're going to charge them to be there? Astounding and insulting.
JM May 24, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Soccer has 1400 kids, softball 400, and include football and cheer 500. Round it to 2000 kids which comes to a low estimate of 4000 voting adults, let's just vote out any person who even considers this.
bw May 24, 2012 at 10:20 PM
BK...RC is indeed correct about the magnitude of League funds that Glendora Lassie League puts into the fields and facilities at Pompei and Finkbiner Parks. This doesn't even take into account the hundreds of hours of free labor that individuals, like myself, donate to keep the facilities at their best. If they want to charge, then fine, but they had better be prepared to provide a well kept, fully staffed system of parks and support people to go with it. Our Leagues in Glendora have great volunteers...that is what makes them so great. These volunteers will step back and let the city handle the work, which won't be pretty. The leagues and the parks will drift into disrepair without the level of volunteerism we have now. Hopefully the majority of the City Council sees that pissing off the people who maintain the great facilities on their own dime & Time isn't a good road to head down.
Citizen of Glendora June 15, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I for one will vote them out!!! I cannot believe they would even consider charging for parking!!! These people are so out of touch. They have no clue how much volunteerism takes place on these fields- how much time we spend day in and day out doing the city work!! (btw Snow Day is a joke and waste of $$)
Ian June 16, 2012 at 01:57 AM
I liked the comment from WJ who stated that if parents cannot afford the parking fees, then their kids won't be involved in youth sports and will thus be smoking dope at the skatepark. It's been a long week, and it was nice to get a good chuckle to end the week.

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