League to increase fee

Published 12:36 am Sunday, January 18, 2015

Each participant in the Washington Girls Softball League will pay $10 more in the league’s upcoming season to play.

During its meeting last week, the Washington City Council voted 4-1 to modify the city’s agreement with the league so it can increase the participation fee it charges from $25 to $35. Council members Richard Brooks, Bobby Roberson, William Pitt and Larry Beeman voted to modify the agreement. Councilman Doug Mercer voted against it.

Neal Dixon, representing the league, requested the modification. He said the increase is needed to help pay for the league’s increasing expenses in several areas.

“We’re asking for this upcoming spring 2015 season to be able to have a modification to our league agreement with the city to allow us to charge $35 versus the $25 that’s currently in the league contract,” Dixon told the council. “We’ve had our first board meeting for 2015, and we’ve recognized several cost factors for this upcoming year. Some of those are going to be purchase of additional scheduling software, recreation of our website. The server we were using no longer exists and also to help cover the … increase in umpiring fees. Last year, we, basically, absorbed those costs.”

After Beeman made the motion to amend the agreement between the city and the league (seconded by Roberson), Mercer asked Beeman what the modification would do to the revenue the city receives from the league.

“Nothing. This is allowing them to — currently the contract has the stipulation that they’re only allowed to charge $25. If they charge more than $25, then they have to pay back to the city. We haven’t gotten into the other part, yet, where we are setting our fee,” Beeman said. “This is just allowing them — because under the current contract the max they can charge is $25.”

Beeman noted the made a similar modification to the agreement between the city and a soccer league.

“My difficulty — and I’m going to vote against this and I’m going to tell you now — (is) this is coming up during the public-comment period, and I’m opposed to acting on anything that comes up in the public-comment period unless it’s some resolution that says we appreciate you doing something,” Mercer said.

Mercer suggested the council review all league agreements at one time instead of doing so on an individual basis.

“Let’s get the doggone leagues to sit down in one room with us, all agree and do what we need to do,” he said.

Beeman said that could happen during the council’s budget sessions, but the leagues are starting registration drives in a few days and can’t wait until the budget sessions for action.

“But they waited until the last minute to come and ask us for the change,” Mercer said.

“I would think it would behoove us to not to get into the weeds (regarding) what they charge anyway. It has nothing to do with anything the city (does). Their cost to pay for referees, their cost to buy uniforms (are increasing),” Mayor Mac Hodges said.

“I understand that, but they agreed to a contract. Now, they come at the last minute and say, ‘We need to change the contract because we need to do this, that or the other.’ They’re asking us to jump through a hoop at the last minute without a full opportunity to look at it and see what it means to them and us,” Mercer said.

“It doesn’t mean anything to us,” Beeman said.




About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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