Youth baseball/softball association in the works

Posted October 9, 2013 at 12:09 pm

City Council

By Kim Brooks, Express Editor

Since the youth baseball and softball public forum on Sept. 25, City Administrator Doug Herman put together a draft copy of the Monticello Youth Baseball and Softball Association Agreement (MYBSA).

At the Oct. 7 Monticello City Council meeting, Herman presented the agreement to the Council. He said he worked with Bud Johnson and others interested in the creation of the MYBSA on the proposed agreement. The idea is to have the MYBSA take over duties associated with the youth ball programs (registrations, scheduling, equipment purchases, concession stands, field preparation and maintenance and all costs associated with these responsibilities).

The city would contribute $10,000 to the association, with the stipulation that the city’s funds not be used for wages.

“With the city not paying for mowing, equipment and labor, it’ll be a cost-savings,” Herman noted. He said those costs add up quickly. Much of these responsibilities will then fall to the MYBSA. “It’ll free up some of Tami’s hours as well for other things,” he said.

Herman told the Council that he also discussed the agreement with Parks & Rec Director Tami Bartram, who, he said, is on board with the idea of changing the way the youth ball programs are run. Herman said the Park Board, which meets this coming Monday evening, Oct. 14, will discuss and review the proposed Association agreement as well. After they make their recommendations, the agreement will then go back to the Council for final approval at the Oct. 21 meeting.

Herman said the city received a lot of feedback from the public forum in September, with the majority of the comments supporting some sort of change in the programming.

Council members Dave Goedken and Bill Meyer said they would like to also discuss the need for additional salary for the Parks & Rec director position with some of these duties being eliminated. Other members of the Council stepped in, saying Bartram puts in many hours as it is to do her job.

Another city entity on the discussion block was the library. Board President Deb Bowman gave the Council an update on several things going on at the library.

About eight months ago, the library board made a big push for extended hours, of which the city helped fund. Bowman said the library is happy with the attendance utilizing these hours, but there is a drop in usage from 7-8 p.m. during the week and from 1-3 p.m. on Saturdays. Bowman said the colder weather season might encourage more users.

With the extended hours, the library is doing evening programming to bring people into the library to see what services are available to the public.

Several months ago, shortly after Michelle Turnis was hired as the new library director, it became apparent that the staff positions were underpaid. Bowman said the library was losing staff due to low wages with increased duties. The board and Turnis have been working on solid job descriptions for these positions and increased wages accordingly. Bowman noted to the Council that despite an increase in wages, the library is still well under budget.

“Maintaining our staff is a big deal,” she said.

In other city business:

The Council approved to pay 151 Landscape and Construction for work that was done near the Aquatic Center. The invoice was in the amount of $4,530.50 for rock, fabric and installation. Herman said Josh Iben, owner of 151 Landscape, also donated a lot of his labor time toward the work as well.

Herman said the Council originally agreed to the project in and around the Aquatic Center, but at no cost to the city. He said Richard Schneiter presented the project to the Council in July, saying fundraising was planned to cover the costs.

“Whether there will be fundraising or not, we need to pay Josh (Iben) for his work,” commented Goedken.

Council member John Sauser commented that he does not want to see the Council in this situation again, getting stuck with paying a bill.

The Council approved a bid from Lifetime Fence for new fencing and railing along the new steps next to the Community Building. The commercial grade aluminum fence and railing total $12,800.