Archive for Thursday, July 30, 2009

Letters to the Editor

July 30, 2009

To the editor:

It was with a true sense of revelation that I read that the 1100 block of Elm was a “mess.” For the 23 years I have lived on the block I deluded myself into thinking it a quiet and comfortable place to live. I thank the city council for opening my eyes. I now realize I should feel terrible about Elm St. and I look forward to solving the problem by increasing traffic, noise and litter.

I would like to thank the council for solving the many problems I now realize I face here on Elm St.

Don Gauthier

Baldwin City

To the editor:

(Editor’s note: This was originally an e-mail to Baldwin City Council members.)

Mayor Wagner and Council Members:

I’d like to preface this by letting you know, Mayor Wagner, that I appreciate your willingness to continue with the electricity discussion rather than move it to the end of the budget meeting the other night.

Several years ago three entities came together with a goal of improving our community. It was applauded at the time that there was finally communication between three major entities in this city to work together. At that time it was discussed what part each of these entities would play.

I understand that the economy has since changed. I also understand that the electric utility is an enterprise. The city is also a municipality, and along the lines of being a municipality, there are certain expenses that go along with that, i.e. street lighting, park lighting, etc.

What I am questioning is the lack of communication there was between the three entities concerning the city’s involvement in the ball fields. At this point, the school budget has been set and approved by the school board, awaiting approval by the State of Kansas. They, like you, cannot add to a budget once it has been approved. Had the school district been given advance notice that this was going to be a possible scenario, they possibly could have figured that into the budget that they were currently working on.

Of the $6,000 that Mr. Winegar quoted as electric utility, please keep in mind there are more than just the ball fields that are included in that number. Also, please keep in mind that the winter month electric utilities have been addressed by Steve Friend, and that won’t be an issue this coming year. This should significantly lessen the cost from what it has been; the current facilities are outdated and the need for electricity, I would assume, is higher for outdated equipment/lighting structures.

As a parent of three, I mentioned to you the number of times we travel out of town for ballgames and tournaments. For us to spend anywhere from $100 to $200 in those towns, depending upon if lodging is necessary or not, is about the norm. Those cities are the ones that benefit from our money, those cities are where our tax dollars go to on the weekends, and sometimes during the week. The benefits that would come to this city would far outweigh the costs associated with any electrical use at the ballpark. We may attend a tournament with anywhere from 3-6 hours between ball games. We spend that time doing something in that city, whether it is activities, sightseeing, dining or simply driving around. There have been cities that we have gone to that we liked the look and feel of the city so we chose to go back there for a long weekend, not during ball season, to spend leisure time. Baldwin has many attractions that would bring people to our community during the off-season.

The inadequacy of our current ball fields do not allow us to host these tournaments. Not only do we not have regulation size ball fields, the drainage, in no uncertain terms, is pitiful. I was asked if we had to forfeit any ballgames due to not having regulation size fields, and responded no. What I should’ve added to that is the fact that there are always ballgames that we end up not being able to play because they get rained out, due to the poor drainage system, and there are always some that never are able to get rescheduled with the lack of time before league tournaments.

I am asking you to please consider funding the electric utilities for the 2010 budget. I am also asking that you schedule a meeting for administrators from Baldwin City Recreation Commission, Baldwin School District and the City of Baldwin City to discuss the future of these utilities. Please see if a compromise can be reached from all parties, whether someone else take the expense of electric for the ball park, or if it could possibly be a joint involvement effort, divided among the three entities. Please don’t just pull the rug out abruptly without considering all options and communications first.

Please consider continuing to fund the electric utilities for the ball park for the 2010 budget, and then have discussions with all involved to figure out the best way to fund them in the future.

Susan England

Baldwin City

Comments

Julie Craig 5 years, 1 month ago

Nobody should have a free ride on this. In the past, the Baldwin Recreation youth teams were allowed to use the ball fields owned by the School free ($1 a year rent.) I remember selling candy bars for the Baldwin Rec teams as we fundraised for years to buy the lights. They were purchased by the Baldwin Recreation Commission. The Rec Commission was responsible for field maintenance. The City was responsible for utilities. It was a team effort.

Now we will have new fields. It is logical to ask the parties who use the ball fields to pay for the lighting. If the Baldwin Recreation youth teams, USD 348 teams, and local college and town slow pitch teams all use them, then they should all pay for them. Someone at the City is going to have to do some "math" to determine what a reasonable rate is, but it can be done.

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