Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Play Ball?

Sure. For a Fee!

Our good friend Bruce Piel of PARCnassau updates us on plans to increase fees to play ball at Nassau County parks:

The county administration's attempt to covertly muscle through an ordinance to assess increased fees (camouflage tax) on every ball player in Nassau was stopped this past Monday, September 20th , when the county legislature agreed to table the measure. It will next be addressed along with the entire 2011 county budget in the near future after full investigation and public comment.

The justifications tendered by the county were filled with misconceptions, misrepresentations, exaggerations and outright falsifications. Thanks go to each league that testified Monday, each league, team and player that sent letters, emails and made phone calls to the legislators. Ultimately that is what cut this bill off at the pass.

The battle is not over. Whatever is motivating the county and park administrations to attack the ball players who are county residents and taxpayers is known only to them and the almighty. Inviting private leagues into becoming public leagues is fine, destroying private leagues is not! The latest tactics being used include:

"For profit" leagues should pay more to use county fields.

All 38 private leagues using county fields in 2010 are technically "for profit" even if their sponsoring entity is not. A church may be a 501(C) 3 but a ball team providing recreation and fellowship is not. Not should it be. Even the largest independent leagues only pay a living wage to their "owners", virtually all of which are involved for the love of the game. No George Steinbrenners here, Nassau. No ticket sales, no concessions stands, parking fees, TV contracts or product endorsements, just the minimum player fees to provide scheduling, referees or umpires, web sites and office support.

Non-residents should pay more to play on county fields.

What non-residents? While the rules mandate at least 80% of the players must be residents, the actual number is in the upper nineties. It is much more likely that a Nassau resident would be playing on a company team in NYC where he works than a city resident would be playing out here.

The proposed bill would allow eliminating field fees for Little Leagues.

The Parks commissioner has always had the authority to "waive any fees which he believes would be in the public interest." If they want to eliminate Little League fees, do it! We have no objection.

Every league, team and player that opposes these unjustified increases should call his county legislator and request being notified the next time this measure is up for discussion and public comment. When that occurs they should make every effort to make their opposition known via letters, emails, phone calls and by testifying before the legislative committees and the full legislature itself. Tell the county that Nassau taxpayers deserve better!

Bruce Piel
Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau
246 Twin Lane East
Wantagh, NY 11793
(516) 783-8378

No comments:

Post a Comment