Archive for Thursday, October 6, 2005

Recreation goes online, council told

October 6, 2005

It's online time for the Baldwin City Recreation Commission. Monte Ezell, commission director, outlined the new offering to the Baldwin City Council at Monday's meeting.

"The new Web site is up," said Ezell. "Registration is there. It's cool."

The biggest change is the availability to register for sports offerings and other program from the commission. In the past, registration had to be done at the office or at special sessions put on at the library or high school.

Ezell said he's heard from other commissions that have gone to online registration that eventually it will become the main source people use.

"Other people who have it have said after two years, 90 percent of registration is done that way," he said. "Of those, 80 to 85 percent are done between 10 p.m. and midnight. People will be able to do it when it's convenient, but we won't have to be open until midnight.

"We hope it will prove to be an asset for the community," Ezell said.

The Web site is at Current registrations are limited. Anyone who uses the service will have to sign up for an account. Eventually, all information gathered by the commission will be located on the site.

"Right now, the only programs you can sign up for are basketball and the after school programs," he said. "There is a convenience fee. We debated that back and forth. The service costs money, so the people who use it should pay for it so we're not dinging everyone.

"Everybody who registers in our system will be on there. It will be used as a database," said Ezell. "They tell us it will take a year to get all the bugs out of it. We're excited about it. We're glad to be online. We're pleased that so far most of the comments have been positive, not negative."

Ezell also gave a partial pool report to the council. The commission has managed the Baldwin City Municipal Pool for the last few years. All of the information from the summer isn't available yet, but Ezell hit the high points.

"We're waiting for our last tax statement to arrive," he said. "We roughly took in $89,000 and roughly spent $86,000."

He also filled the council in on numbers of family and other passes sold, the number of after-hour rentals of the pool and swimming lessons. He said he'd update the report once everything is compiled.

If it hadn't been for Ezell's report, the council meeting would have been over in five minutes. There were only two matters of business.

The council approved unanimously a request by Ottawa Sanitation to raise the rate for trash pickup. The rate was increased 50 cents, from $9.52 to $10.02 per month. The rate was adjusted because of the increase in fuel prices.

The council also passed a resolution to finance the purchase of a dump truck through Mid-America Bank. The truck costs $84,139. The city has $8,500 for a down payment, leaving $75,639 to be finance over five years.

City Administrator Jeff Dingman said Mid-America had the best bid of the three local banks with an interest rate of 4.79 percent. The bids had originally been for a 10-year term.

"Mid-American's bid was considerably less on the 10-year plan and I worked with them on the five year plan," Dingman said.

Dingman also updated the council on upcoming meetings, including an Emergency Management Exercise at 9 a.m. Oct. 25 at the American Legion. It will be the first test of Baldwin's just-completed Emergency Management Plan. Council President Amy Cleavinger asked how many council members should attend.

"As many as possible," Dingman said.

Mayor Gary Walbridge said he'd been through such exercises before and found them to be worthwhile.

"Those of you who can (attend), should," Walbridge said. "It will be a good exercise."

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