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home : community : business June 25, 2016

3/5/2013 5:06:00 PM
Baseball talks continue
City Parks and Recreation director Molly Klippert talks about the contract with the Othello Youth Baseball-Softball League. Photo by Briana Alzola.
City Parks and Recreation director Molly Klippert talks about the contract with the Othello Youth Baseball-Softball League. Photo by Briana Alzola.

Contract talks between the city and the Othello Youth Baseball-Softball League have been delayed once more. Meetings between the two groups will continue and the contract should be presented to council at the March 11 meeting.
The city is proposing a fee of $1,000 for the year to use the fields (including mounds, field maintenance, keys and storage), plus a $350 fee to operate the Lions Park concession stand. This will be a one-year agreement.
Continuing to charge residents more and more for the use of these parks is wrong, league president Chastity Krebs said. A fee for parks is already included in property taxes paid by city residents.
It does cost money to have staff upkeep the fields and chalk lines, and so on, she said, but no one in the league asked for that to happen. They have volunteers who would complete these tasks, but the city stepped up without request. Now, they are trying to charge the kids for it, she said.
She hopes rising costs of field use do not mean fewer sports programs in Othello, she said.
The way to raise money for the city is to keep the parks cheap to use, so more sporting events and tournaments go on here. They are planning on having the softball state tournament here, bringing in girls from all over the state and their families. These families will stay in the hotels, eat at the restaurants and shop at the stores, bringing in money for Othello, she said.
Charles Garcia, council member, said things are always changing. One of those changes is the city looking at the cost it takes to upkeep the park.
This is seen all over the state, mayor Tim Wilson said. Othello is not unique in charging local sport groups to use their facilities.

Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, March 11, 2013
Article comment by: Chris Dorow

First Katrina, great question. How the state does this is it takes a survey of like sized cities with similar demographics and sees what they charge and what is the claim of cost.

I believe that number if I remember right was actually $6000 to $8000. The city didn't think that was a reasonable raise so instead came up with a justifable amount of $1000. This amount they felt they could justify to the state if they are challenged by audit yet again.

Katrina understand the state is making the rules on this and they are manadated to make sure the taxpayers are adequitly compensated for losing public access by an organization. I realize the organiation is made up of taxpayer too but in the world of legalize the access of the individual trumps an organization that wants exclusive access. Thus the organization has to pay a fair fee to compensate that access of the individual taxpayer. Othello was found to be in deficet of compensation due to state audit and were thus mandated to raise their fees.

Do I think most people would want OYB to pay its same fees.....YES, but that is neither here nor there. Some individuals turned Othello in for audit and this is the only thing the state found which wasn't in order with the law. No matter what the masses want the law is there to protect every individual tax payer's rights and those tax payer's excercised their rights demanding audit for concerns over fairness of use of tax dollars and this is the only result.....and like it or not we are all married to that action.

Now since the audit is completed the names of who turned the city in for audit is a matter of public record and can be requested. That's the thing about having rights, it doesn't exclude you from the responsability of your actions.

I have made a request for that information and will have it by March 21st but anyone can make this request as that is your right.

Great question Katrine, this is a very complicated issue and deserves a lot more public dialogue to understand it

Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Article comment by: Katrina simmons

Ok Chris Dorow, right back at you-- if they were charging the league $100.00 I believe that is not a gift--a gift is NO CHARGE. And for it to go up $900.00 higher is insanity--this is OTHELLO. And I for one would like the names of who complained--some of our issues will be with those people. Just saying!!! Those complainers are probably people I'm sure who have nothing to do with OYB.

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Article comment by: Chris Dorow

With all due respect I think you are missing the point. The city never even considered this until it was mandated by the state. It was mandated by the state due to 26 complaints sent to the state auditors office by our citizens. Instigating a major audit which found its only issue not in legal compliance was the gifting of the use of public fascilities. The city has to do this to be complient with state law. Their hands are tied on this.

What's discouraging is had a group of citizens not turned in 26 complaints which turned out to be none issues with the state nobody would be dealing with these state manadates on gifting of public fascilitles.

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Relick

This league is ran on a volunteer basis. nobody on this board gets a penny to put in countless hours of work. Coaches also volunteer. For years i've seen board members, coaches, parents, kids caring for this complex. Those involved in youth baseball really care for this complex and do take care of it. I understand one's comment about how the league is pretty much paying to reserve the fields so nobody is building sand castles on it. Who would really build a sand castle on it? Othello is a small enough town that people know OYB plays on those fields. During the season people know that games start at 5:00 during the week. Why can't the city just reserve the fields for them for the $100? OYB is for the kids, it helps kids stay active, fit, and off the streets. Without OYB, what would kids do all spring/summer? Play xbox or playstation? Is that what we really want? Raising the park fee will likely lead to raising the fee to play. I know families that have 2+ children playing in the league, with rising costs, i imagine numbers will drop, eventually losing OYB. Now doesnt that sound terrible? I really hope the city can take a deep look into this, i know it's only $1000, but is it really necessary?

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Article comment by: Chris Dorow

Though I can understand the emotional reactions people have when hearing about this issue, there are some significant facts people need to be made aware of when it comes to this issue. The biggest being the fees are coming from state mandate.

Here's what happened, last year 26 complaints were sent to the WA State Auditors office. This instigated an extremely thurogh audit of which very little was found out of order. In fact the only thing found out of order was the City was gifting its fascilities to organizations.

Here is how this works, as tax payers we have a right to access public facilities. To have exclusive rights and thus inhibit the access of other tax payers you have to pay a fee and thus compensate those tax payers. So if you want to have a birthday party and want to have it at the park at a gazebo at a particular time and want that gazebo to be yours exclusively, you have to pay a fee to the city. This is the samething for sports teams who want exclusive access at a particular time. Without that if a kid is building sand castles in the infeild the baseball team has no right to kick that kid off the field.

Back to the audit, as I said it was found that the city was gifting its facsilities to organizations and thus is mandated to brings its fees in aline with other cities of like size.

This wasn't something the city just came up with out of the blue. This is the result of the 26 complaints and subsequent audit as a result of the complaints. This was the only issue the city was found out of compliance.

Its a shame that this had to happen because of this but that's what happened. People have the right to ask for these things and unfortunately we are all burdened with the results of those actions.

By the way, since the audit is over you have the right to ask who turned in the city and is responsible for this.

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