Proposed fee increases concern recreation leagues

Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 05:32 PM.

The Havelock Board of Commissioners heard complaints about recreation fees as residents voiced opinions on the proposed 2014-15 budget during a meeting Monday night.

The budget calls for increases of fees for out-of-city participants in youth sports leagues by $5 next year, $10 the following year and $15 the year after that.

“I don’t think you guys realize that a lot of those kids are going to go away when the fees go up,” Justin Clayborne, president of the Havelock Little League Board of Directors, told commissioners. “A lot of the kids that play youth sports, not just Little League, but girls that play softball, the majority of them don’t live in the city limits. Of the 12 board members that we have in Little League, nine of them live outside the city limits. So, not only will you lose the kids, but you are going to lose the volunteers. If you guys raise the fees, they are going to go to New Bern or Newport and play.”

He pointed out that the Havelock Little League had been part of the city for more than 50 years and that recent struggles with participation and volunteers in the girls softball league could hit Little League if out-of-city residents leave.

“What we are going to need in order to get revenue for the rec center is more kids playing,” Clayborne said. “I don’t think the fees are going to do it.”

Clayborne suggested going to businesses and getting scholarship funds to keep the kids playing.

“If they’re not playing, they are probably going to be out there doing stuff that’s going to cost the city money and I hate to see that happening to the youth sports in Havelock,” Clayborne said. “We’re charging $65 per child now to play baseball. When I started a few years ago it was $45 when my kid was little. We’re going to be looking at $100 a kid here in a few years if you guys raise the fees.”

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