Tuesday, January 08, 2008

You Do the Math

Some times it is simple math. Stick with me as I get some of the back ground out of the way.

The town I live in has a park and recreation department. What that means is they have a budget that is determined by the city and isn't a taxing body like a part district would be. They have budget concerns but have obligations to provide services to the people of the city.

Now the baseball/softball organization that I am a board member of has been told by the parks department that we will have to pay $10 per player to help cover the costs of maintaining the fields. The total cost is around 65K to do this work so the 11K portion they are asking us to pay is not that big. They problem is that we have already put out budget together for the year and adding more cost to the structure can't really be passed on at this point.

The real key to this is that we do everything else in running the baseball/softball program for the city. We have numerous volunteers doing the coaching, finding sponsors, maintaining inventory of equipment for 100 teams, and scheduling all the events that last all summer long. Now they are asking for 11K but if they had to do this work they would be required to have at least one full time person doing this job. So lets do the math a little. Our budget, as it stands is 140K. If you add the cost of doing the field maintenance into the picture you are looking at 205K. What if the parks department had to do it? You still have the same 205K plus you have to hire one person to take care of everything a group of 20 volunteers does. Even if you pay some one 30K a year, with benefits you will have to pay something like 50K for that person. You now have a cost of 255K to run the same program. It is actually a better deal for them to eat the 11K than it would be for them to run the program. Sure, they can pass the cost of the new employee on to the consumer...our kids...but that increases the cost by $45 per player. You now create an issue where people will find cheaper things to do and thus the program fails over time. You will still have teams but participation will drop and the idea is to give every child that wants a chance to play to have that chance.

We may be giving them the chance to hang them selves. It may not be the right thing to do but we already give the highest value of all the outside organizations running programs. More kids play ball than anything else they provide...by far. Do they really want the headache of trying to run something like this? They have a hard enough time doing smaller programs like soccer. Every year soccer is a cluster fuck of messed up rosters and mixed up schedules. Now more than double the teams and see what happens.

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