Thursday, March 10, 2005
Interesting Soccer Sidebar
Anyway they discussed three things 1) the soccer building request; 2) a noise ordinance and 3) (hold on to your hats!) an ethics ordinance (that will get its very own entry in a little bit).
OK, back to soccer. MASA (Monroe Area Soccer Association) would like the City to invest in a 2,000 square foot building/concession stand to service all of the soccer fields at Munson Park at a cost of about $200,000. City manager Manns "explained that the soccer program is run by the Monroe Area Soccer Association and the City maintains the fields." I'm not real clear what it is exactly that the city does maintenance-wise since MASA Board Members came before council again on March 7, 2005 and said that they are the ones who line all of the fields and also provided/donated thousands of dollars worth of hose to water the the fields.
Anyway, she went on to say in that past meeting, "They are now asking us to construct over a 2,000 square foot building at a construction cost of $208, 000, with the City to finance the building and the Soccer Association to run the concession and keep all profits." Hmmm. Since the MASA Board Members at the March meeting recounted many of their fundraising efforts to reinvest in the program I hardly think they are going to take all the concession "profits" and leave town, but anyway.
"She asked council if the want to continue to allow the Monroe Area Soccer Association to run the program based in large part on the fact that the City is accepting all of the expenses and receiving none of the revenue from the program." Hmmm again. It seems that this volunteer group is doing all of the work and should have a reasonable expectation of receiving the revenue necessary to continue the program that they do continually reinvest in. What also doesn't seem to be mentioned in the official record is that there is some grant money available for this project but the door slams shut on that in July of this year.
OK, this a great recreation program run by volunteers in this community. It is another one of those wonderful quality of life issues the mayor likes to drag out when it suits him so what's the deal? Should this project be funded? Sure. Should it stay in budget? Absolutely. But Ms. Manns recommended the rejection of bids for the project both in September 2004 and again on March 7th and time is running out on the acceptance of the grant money. And now she is asking for a redesign of the project again (she said that in September too) So what really is the problem?
Ms. Manns has been portrayed as a financial wizard (golly, she amazed everyone when she quickly found the money to pay for the mayor's unnecessary leaf pickup project) so perhaps she can cancel renovations to another City Hall bathroom or you know, there is that extra half a million the mayor was all set to spend on (dare I say it?) the roundabout.
Soccer has become very big in this whole community for all ages and genders and it seems a shame that another group of volunteers in this community is getting squeezed by this administration.
First off, Ms. Manns is incorrect in even knowing what state department issued the grant -- it's DNR, not DEQ.
Next, back in September 2004 the first high bid was within the 15% project contingency, but Ms. Manns proposed to reject it and wait for the winter because she felt prices would be lower. So much for that...
And finally, for the City Manager and Administration to believe that MASA is making great sums of $$ from concessions and shoving all costs to the City is insulting to the DOZENS of volunteers who maintain the fields, train the coaches and refs, and run the organization.
So here we are once again, with another volunteer community group taking it on the chin from the City. And the City Manager thinks this is a "propituous" relationship...
Oh, and in case you may have lost track, our volunteers at MASA now join those at Habitat for Humanity and DMBN with the distinction of being a good community volunteer group getting trashed by the City.