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.”