Proposed fee increases concern recreation leagues

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

Paul Williams, president of Havelock Babe Ruth Baseball, said six of seven league board members live outside the city limits, as do about 75 percent of the players.

“I have had parents already come to me and say that they are going to New Bern and they will play where they pay their taxes,” Williams said. “We’ve had a very hard struggle over the last five to seven years keeping these leagues alive and ours is another one that has been here 50-plus years and I don’t want to see that go away.”

Williams said the fee increase would “punish” children just because of where they live.

“All that’s saying to our youth is go somewhere else to play or don’t play at all,” Williams said. “As far as volunteers go, I know at least four of my board members will be gone if we start doing this. Board members are very hard to come by and they are all volunteers.

“I don’t want to see it go away. You’re probably going to get to the point to where just like with girls softball now, to where the recreation department is running it. They were at a strong eight to 10- or 12-team league and now they are a three-team league.”

Jennifer Wells, a resident of Craven County, said she and her retired military husband have three children that each play a sport in Havelock.

“It’s a little pricey, but we’re willing to pay that,” she said. “I know it doesn’t just affect us as a family. Last year when we went to sign up for softball … there was another family with three little girls that had to walk out because of that fee. So, I do think that if you raise the taxes and increase the fees for everybody to use the sports, I think that you are going to lose families in that regard.”

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