Rec Dept. financials, MAYSA partnership discussed at meeting
By Stephanie Johns
Lance Alexander of the Morgan County Recreation Department (MCRD) reported on financial matters as well as a possible alliance with the Madison Area Youth Soccer Association (MAYSA) during the recent MCRD board meeting.
MCRD made $7,500 in income from their 9-10 Boys & Girls Tournaments with a cost of between $2,500 and $3,000 to hold the tournament. He said that local motels and food services were “thrilled” at the additional business and that “it was a positive time for the community.”
MCRD cleared about $2,000 on the Aquatic District meet and made about $7,400 from the Aquatic Center in September.
The two one-pitch tournaments went well. Alexander said that they were family oriented and a BBQ vendor was present. He added that MCRD makes between $700 to $800 at these events each night.
As to fees to use MCRD facilities, they will now require a $25 non-refundable fee to reserve a shelter. Alexander noted that they have had people reserve shelters in the past and then not show up.
“We’ve got someone to drive in and clean up,” he said, adding that this wastes gas when no one shows up to use the shelter. “We just want to make them accountable.”
MCRD set a $5 fee per disc golf tournament player entry fee. With 72 entrants, they expect to make about $360. The board approved the fee schedule.
Alexander then shared details of a policy to prevent out-of-county residents from conducting classes on MCRD facilities without paying a portion of fees earned to MCRD. It seems there is a tennis instructor from out of the county who comes in and uses MCRD facilities on a regular basis but does not pay for use of the facilities.
Board member Chris Kennedy said she thought MCRD had a policy regarding this and that fees collected by any out-of-county instructor would be split with MCRD 80-20. The board asked Alexander to bring them a proposal regarding this for their review at their next meeting.
Alexander presented the board with a document titled “Independent Travel and Organizational Teams” that provides rules for those teams wanting to play or practice on Morgan County Recreation Department facilities.
“We need rules in place for everybody to go by,” he said. “So far, there’s no waiver form or insurance requirement – they just show up and play.”
Alexander said MCRD now requires that teams schedule through the department.
The board looked over the “Morgan County Parks & Recreation Department Addendum to Policies and Procedures for User Groups” as it pertains to MAYSA.
Alexander told the board that they needed to make a decision in the next few months about whether or not they wanted to form an alliance with MAYSA. He noted that his predecessor at MCRD gave MAYSA a place to practice and play, scheduling around the department’s needs.
“At the end of the day we’ve got to do what’s best for the kids in the county,” he said. He encouraged board members to read over the document and make notes on it so that they could discuss it further at their next meeting.
Morgan County Manager Michael Lamar said he, Morgan County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Ellen Warren and Morgan County Commissioner Donald Harris had received a pitch from a couple of people with MAYSA who inquired about upgrading the field at the old Denon site.
“If they can be guaranteed the right to use them, they’d build four of them,” he said.
Board member Alvin White said he’s been told that the biggest need is for soccer fields.
Advantages to approving the alliance include allowing families to play together. For example, a family might have a younger soccer player participating at the Rec Department and an older soccer player participating with MAYSA.
Concerns about the alliance include questions about soccer program leadership. For example, if MAYSA builds the four soccer fields, would they expect to take over the soccer program at the Rec Department?
Lamar suggested that the board have members meet with members of MAYSA as well as a soccer contact they have in Oconee County to “talk through their concerns.”
Alexander asked the board for their input regarding a possible trade of Municipal Park for ownership of Heritage Park land. He said he had had separate discussions with the Morgan County Athletic Director, coaches, and the superintendent but no official proposal has been made.
He said that they want baseball and softball together. Lamar said that trading the ball fields for Heritage Park is “about even.” Alexander said he’s getting numbers together. Lamar asked Alexander to put something in writing for the board to look at.
Regarding the number of sports participants who have used the MCRD in 2012, 14 kids wanted to play travel football. Four of those kids could tryout for the middle school team so these kids were told to tryout for that team first. Three of the four kids made the middle school team, bringing the number back down. He said MCRD may have had one partial out-of-town team but the rest were from Morgan County.
The number of participants in the cheerleading, football and fall soccer programs went down from 2011 to 2012. Cheerleading participation went from 64 to 51, football participation went from 251 to 235, and fall soccer participation went from 238 to 210.
He noted that the middle school prevented sixth graders from playing this year and that MCRD went from three to four teams in the 11-12 group.
MCRD averages 60 participants a month in their gymnastics program. Chris Sides with the Recreation Department said that the number drops in the summer and around the Christmas holidays but that overall, “It’s a pretty good average.”
Alexander said the travel team wants to stay home this summer so MCRD will schedule more home games for them.
The swim teams are close to their max. Sides said MCRD has 25 kids on the beginning swim team.
Alexander also shared that their swim team “is really advancing” and that two of the kids set state records this summer at the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association state swimming championships. Speaking about that event, Alexander said, “We had a great day.”
Alexander showed photos of a new sign the Recreation Department is thinking about buying. He noted that it will cost about $17,400, some of which will come from the city, some of which may come from the county, and $2,000 of which already has been donated by the MOMS Club. He told the board that he has the money to order the sign – half the cost of the sign is required up front.
The MOMS Club has donated up to $10,000 at a time, he said, adding that their funds have helped with several projects, including purchasing play structures and creating a t-ball field.
As to the department’s new website, www.mcplayrec.org, Alexander said that Chris Cook of Madison Studios cut them a deal – a $4,500 package for about $800 with a $40 to $50 monthly maintenance fee.
“We’ll be able to hit one button and send messages about rainouts using e-mail, text, Twitter, and Facebook,” he said.
Alexander also showed board members a sample survey he would like to use to gather public input. He would like to hold a Town Hall meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 5 in the high school auditorium in which participants would be shown a slide show highlighting “everything the Rec Department offers” and then asked, “Where do we want our Rec Department to go in the future?”
Printed in the October 11, 2012