The Union Recorder

August 5, 2013

County committee analyzing options

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder


The existing Baldwin County Parks and Recreation Policies and Procedures don’t reflect how the county does or wants to run the department. 

Recreation Director Bill McNair sifted through talking points including sports associations, fee structures and recreational facility use policy for activities other than by approved sports organizations Tuesday, July 30.

The recreation committee made of County Commissioners Tommy French, District 2, and Henry Craig, District 4, along with County Manager Ralph McMullen discussed the rough document.

French and Craig will address this topic during the 6 p.m. regular Baldwin County Commissioners meeting Tuesday held in Courthouse Suite 319.

• Using county facilities for monetary gains and other events

McMullen mentioned that a previous board of commissioners said that “someone doing things for money” does not fit in the scheme of recreational activities, and they could find some other place. 

“They felt our facilities should be used for recreational activities and not for private business,” he said.

McNair said a car sale event used to bring as much as $5,000.

French called that good money.

The policies and procedure draft section prohibits public facility use for monetary gain except when a firm or organization meets all county and city regulations and permits for sub sales.

The recreation director and county manager must approve the written request also.

Concerning cooperative agreements, the policy and procedure draft says “under special circumstances, an organization may apply to have the county enter into a cooperative agreement for an event. The event must promote public benefit and encourage broad citizen and/or tourist participation.”

The recent Michael Vick event falls under this clause.

Co-ops include fee reductions of facilities and use of equipment. The county manager said the provision is dark gray.

The county manager said a previous board removed this policy because a number of organizations didn’t want to pay $800 a day for the parking lot during a festival or fair.

“This is a revisiting of allowing those groups to come back,” McMullen said. “It gives certain waivers, and it’s not spelled out as to what type of reduction are you giving.”

Craig suggested giving a 25 percent civic or church group event use fee reduction. French said the benefit and cost incurred to the county must be part of the document.

The county recreation committee awaits County Attorney David McRee’s legal input but concurs creating a “good policy where changes require policy change” will help bolster better operations.

• Facility fee schedules

Field rentals stay competitive with nearby Dublin’s recreation areas at $125 per field per day under the recreation operations rough draft. McNair said bumping the fee to $150 per field is doable.

The committee bounced around charging more per hour for night use due to lighting costs. 

McMullen wants to find some way to benefit more from gate or parking fees the recreation department continually accommodates.

Charging more could scare away large baseball and softball tournaments, which is a recreation death sentence.

“I understand, but you could very easily run those tournaments to Cordele too,” McNair said.

The director doesn’t want to price Baldwin out of the tournament game.

Craig said a night use surcharge around $15 could help the recreation pocketbook. 

McNair said he’s contact Dublin to see if recreation officials there tack on night charges.


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