By MARY JEAN HALL
Special to the Press
DRESDEN — The Dresden board of mayor and aldermen discussed youth softball and t-ball during the meeting Monday night.
Phillip Davidson, president of the Dresden Youth Softball Association, requested a $1,000 start-up grant from the board. The association helps with funding the five and six year-old’s softball and t-ball leagues.
According to Davidson, the association only had a $3.43 balance at the beginning of this year, and the new association administration promises to be more accountable with finances this year. He spoke about some goals that they had developed.
“We’re interested in building the skills of our young boys and girls,” Davidson said.
This year Davidson hopes to achieve four major goals, including the children’s uniforms. He also hopes to improve the quality of the equipment and coaches’ inventory, citing safety as a major concern.
“I want our kids to be able to play safe,” Davidson said.
Part of that inventory would include coaches’ bags. Each bag would preferably include catching gear, masks, first aid kits and other needed equipment, and is expected to cost around $80 each.
Davidson also said that he had a goal to help those children who cannot afford registration costs and equipment.
To help with safety issues, four year-olds are no longer allowed to play softball or t-ball within the Dresden leagues. According to Davidson, this has been a rule for some time, but it has been loosely followed.
“We don’t want them hurt,” Davidson said. “We want to be strong by our rules and not waiver.”
Mayor Danny Forrester informed the board that the city stopped running the leagues about 10 years ago, and they only manage the fields now.
“It’s been very admirable of that group to wait 10 years,” Forrester said. “The way the finances are being kept is much more accountable than in the past. It’s more structured.”
A big issue with the league association seemed to be the lack of start-up money for this year’s budget. With a starting balance of just $3.43, many aldermen questioned the accounting in the past.
“Is this bad accounting or is this something more?” Alderman Gwin Anderson asked.
“That’s a question that the city and recorder can never answer,” Forrester replied.
According to Finance Director Carla Edwards, the city doesn’t require a detailed budget for the leagues. They must submit a financial status at the end of the season. Edwards said that the status that was submitted last year didn’t make sense so she had to request more information, such as receipts.
Edwards said that she was told most equipment was purchased with cash through places like KenTenn, and they were not able to reprint the missing receipts.
The board also learned that several parents paid for their children to participate in a fall seven and eight year-old league, but the league never played. Apparently about 15 children had been registered for a fall league.
Edwards informed the board that there was no evidence that the fall league funds were ever deposited into the league account.
“Funds were taken from parents for the kids to play, and we have no idea where it is,” Davidson said. “I can’t be accountable for the past.”
Davidson continued to say that they were waiving the spring league fees for all of the children who paid for the fall league but never played.
Davidson said that the association is working on fundraiser ideas, which would include t-shirt sales and even an equipment drive.
Currently, the spring registration fee per child is $40 each. That breaks down to about $20 for insurance costs, $13 for a shirt and $7 for a trophy. The children must generally supply their own gloves and bats.
The board unanimously approved a grant for $1,000 for the league.
“This shows there is league accountability by the city,” Alderman Jeff Washburn said after the vote.
Alderman Richard Tidwell requested that a more detailed budget be submitted to the board for each league.
The board also received an update on the city-wide recycling initiative. Barker Brothers reported that there was about 45 tons of recycled material so far, which was on track to most cities. At first the recycled material was about 90-95 percent “clean,” but lately it has been about 87-88 percent clean due to some food waste that was mixed in.
“You guys didn’t do a good job of educating our citizens,” Anderson said.
Barker Brothers isn’t making much on processing the recycled materials for the city.
“You need to understand that recycling is good for the environment, but it is not a profit making business,” he said.
The board approved the FY 2012 Audit, which was conducted by Alexander Thompson Arnold CPA firm. Howell Alexander walked the board through their findings.
“You guys are doing good,” Alexander said.
The next meeting of the Dresden board of mayor and aldermen will be Monday, April 8 at 6 p.m. The board moved the meeting back from its regular time due to it falling during the local schools’ spring break.
Published in The WCP 3.5.13