WETUMPKA, Ala. (WSFA) – The Town of Wetumpka may soon close the grounds at the Wetumpka Sports Complex to youth baseball and softball leagues.
According to an email from the Wetumpka Youth Baseball & Softball League board of directors, the city will close the fields beginning at 8 a.m. Sunday. They would remain closed for league play. until the city gets signed agreements from the “league and financial disclosures which will include bank statements for the past 24 months and all monthly treasury reports for the past 24 months.”
The league said the agreements sent by the city would give the city full access to league funds. The League’s board said in the email that it could not agree to sign these “contracts giving the city full access to our funds”.
The league said in response to the city’s original contracts that the league and city had previously reached an agreement that was beneficial to both parties and even encouraged the contract. However, the league does not want to give the city “full control of the League and unlimited access to family funds in our area.”
The league says in 2021 it has agreed to go halfway with the city to resurface the infields of all softball fields. The cost of the project was $20,000 and the league paid $10,000.
In the fall of 2021, the league provided a free-fall ball to over 500 children in the community. The league said the cost of the fall ball was $17,000.
The league added that it helped the city with a list of projects to complete before the start of Spring Ball, which totaled $8,500.
The league says it has invested a total of $35,500 in fields and families in one year.
According to the league, it had to operate with losses several times each year before 2021. And based on the information the league has, it “has never been in a financial position to be able to help with projects like these. in the past.”
“We are extremely grateful to the city for allowing us to use this incredible complex rent-free for all these years,” the league said. “In recognition of what the City has done for us as soon as we were financially able, we were thrilled to finally be able to contribute to some much needed upgrades to our ballpark. »
According to the league, she responded with an offer to sign the agreement without the language that would give Wetumpka access to their children’s funds. However, the city reportedly told the league that its proposal was unacceptable. The league said it had offered to sign a short-term liability release contract through the end of the spring All-Stars to allow for the completion of the 2022 season.
The league says closing the fields will end baseball’s midseason tournament.
“We apologize for the disruption to our spring league season, but we hope our league families understand how difficult the position the city has placed us in and agree with the concerns we have. to give the municipal government full control of our league. and unlimited access to our youth funds,” the league said in the email.
The league added that it is optimistic that the city will modify its demands and meet with them to discuss and find an agreement that makes sense for the city and for the youth and families of the league.
The City of Wetumpka posted the following statement on Facebook:
“Over the past few months, the Town of Wetumpka has been working with the Youth Baseball and Softball League to secure agreements for the use of town lands at no cost to the league. We asked with an agreement, audited financial statements. We have a responsibility to oversee operations on public city property, which requires league transparency. The city demands financial responsibility. This is consistent with all public services in all forms of municipal government, including when such government services are outsourced to non-profit organizations. All the agreement requires is that the league retain operating funds and the remaining proceeds be reinvested in maintaining the facility. The city does not receive any registration or sponsorship money and neither do we want it. We want the league to succeed for the benefit of our children, but we also have a responsibility to be responsible for the funds paid into public property. The same requirements apply to all public facilities, not just softball and baseball diamonds. At this time, the league has left the city with no choice but to close the grounds until a win-win resolution can be reached.
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