Basehor residents to receive rebate on youth sports programs
Basehor residents’ $400,000 investment in youth sports will pay off immediately, in the form of a half-price rebate for the families of children taking the diamond this spring or hitting the gridiron this fall at the city-owned Field of Dreams athletic complex.
Weighing the risk of an unknown financial impact, the Basehor City Council voted, 3-1, on Monday to award Basehor residents a 50 percent discount on 2011 youth sports participation fees at the complex, in the form of rebate checks from the city.
Council member Jim Washington opposed the measure. Member David Breuer, who said earlier this month he opposed offering a discount for 2011, was absent.
Mayor Terry Hill, who did not have a vote on the matter, said before the council’s discussion that he endorsed a rebate for residents in 2011. He said the city should treat the Field of Dreams complex as it does Basehor City Park: as a service for residents.
“It isn’t a business operation to make money,” Hill said. “It’s a service we’re providing to the children of this community.”
Council member Bill Moyer, who proposed the 50 percent rebate, said he wanted to give residents a discount big enough to catch their eye and show them why the council opted to buy the Field of Dreams complex in 2010.
“No matter what you’re going to go out and buy — whether it’s a car, a refrigerator, a stove, you pick it — when someone offers you a good product at half- price, you feel like you’re getting a good deal,” Moyer said.
The rebate will amount to a savings of $30 for each Basehor resident participating in tee-ball at Field of Dreams, $40 for children participating in baseball or softball and $65 for those participating in football.
City finance director Corey Swisher said the rebate will come in the form of a check from the city sent after residents pay the price to the city’s operating contractor for the complex, the National Youth Sports Sanctioning Organization.
To receive the rebate, or to receive a windshield sticker that allows for free parking and admission to Field of Dreams events, residents will need to provide proof of residence. The rebates and the free parking and admission apply to league events, but not to any tournaments held at the complex.
Washington and Breuer had opposed giving residents a rebate in 2011, the first year that the city will operate the complex. They both said the city should wait at least one year to determine how much a rebate would cost and how much the city would need to spend on capital improvements at the complex.
“I fully support a rebate for Basehor residents’ children going forward, but after we have the money in hand,” Washington said Monday.
Though the city does not have statistics on how many Basehor residents have participated in the sports programs in the past, city administrator Mark Loughry said a rough estimate of the cost of a 50 percent rebate would be $18,500.
NYSSO will pay the city a minimum of $30,000 for the use of the complex as part of its contract. Loughry said city staff’s current plan called for the Field of Dreams to be a cost-neutral facility, and any revenue left after rebates would go toward improvements and maintenance at the complex.
But Hill said he would support using a small amount of money from the city’s general funds to pay for repairs and maintenance at the complex if necessary, in the same way the city pays for care and maintenance at the city park each year.
“The city should be willing to spend some money on playgrounds, parks and recreation areas for the kids,” Hill said. “I just think the city ought to stand up and do that.”
Before the council’s vote on the issue, member Dennis Mertz said he would support a smaller, more conservative rebate because of the unknown cost, but he ultimately voted for the 50 percent rebate.
Members Moyer and Iris Dysart, who both voted for the rebate, are running for re-election to the council in April. Washington’s seat is also up for election, but he did not file for re-election.
Earlier in the meeting, the council confirmed, 4-0, that all Basehor residents would be eligible for free parking and admission to league events at the complex.
Also on Monday, the council:
• Took the first step toward using an offered $1 million grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation to extend Wolf Creek Parkway westward to 158th Street, by authorizing, 4-0, city staff to solicit proposals from potential engineering design consultants.
According to a schedule from city staff, the city council will receive proposals from potential consultants later this month, narrow the field to three candidates, then consider the selection of a consultant in April.
The city does not yet know how much the Wolf Creek Parkway project will cost, but Loughry said last month that $1.4 million was a rough estimate. The city will receive the $1 million KDOT grant only if it agrees to pay for the rest of the cost of the road construction, and the council has not yet made a final decision whether to pay that cost.
If the council approves the project, construction will not begin until 2012 at the earliest.
• Approved, 5-0, an ordinance that adopts new city sign standards developed by the city planning commission and city staff.
• Awarded, 4-0, a contract to Miles Excavating for up to $120,000 for the removal of the Chestnut sewer lift station.
• Approved, 4-0, the purchase of a Canon copier for the police department for no more than $8,300, as well as a maintenance agreement for the copier.