5 Things Town Council: Teams to Pay to Play on Fields

Highlights from Monday night's township council conference meeting.

The town council held a conference meeting Monday night to discuss a variety of issues ranging from new fees for leagues to use the township fields, as well as the state's anti-idling law.

Here's what you need to know:

1.   After a number of discussions with the Sports Council, the township plans to implement field usage fees for independent sports groups that use the fields, according to Town Manager Michele Meade.

The fee varies based on sport and how long the season.

"We think it's a fair proposal. Fair, in light of the difference of intensity of use that each of the groups provides and the amount of maintenance that we have to provide as a result," Meade said.

In the past, the township never charged a fee for sports groups using the field. All other towns in the area charge, Deputy Mayor Steve Santola said. The new fees are in line with fees in the other municipalities.

Councilman Michael Rieber asked if adding costs would discourage residents from playing sports. Santola pointed out that the new costs would not prohibit anyone from using a township field, but instead affected those who wanted guaranteed field usage.

Santola did however raise a new concern. "The issue is going to be we really have to deliver a good service," said Santola. "Once somebody is paying they're going to expect that the lines are going to be straight." Santola indicated that provided the service meet expectations, the fees were a good idea to help the township offset costs.

Councilman Gary Schneiderman described the fields as "acceptable," not great, especially compared to what they used to be years ago. "There are very few municipalities on that list that are worse than ours," he said. He also noted that while his time on the council is running up, he intends to make a push to have turf installed on the fields at Heritage Middle School when the council has the next 5-on-5 meeting with the Board of Education.

The new field usage fees will be formally introduced at the council's next meeting on Sept. 26.

2.   The council discussed creating a resolution to support the Green Team's efforts in raising awareness about the harmful impact that motor vehicle idling has on the environment.

The state of New Jersey has an anti-idling law in place, which states that vehicles, including cars, trucks and buses, may not idle for more than three minutes.

3.   The township manager informed the council of a change order totaling $14,758.12 in additional costs for the reconstruction of Wynnewood Road, a project that was completed earlier this spring. One of the driving factors behind the added cost, Meade noted, is a new requirement from the state that requires an asphalt price adjustment due to the cost of oil.

4.   Livingston will look to renew its membership with the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council, which it has been a part of for quite some time, for the next five years. "We take advantage of a lot of their contracts so it saves us from bidding on our own," said Meade. The cost of membership is $1,100.

5. Earlier in the evening, council members joined township employees and organizations in greeting newcomers to Livingston.

The council meets next on Monday, Sept. 26 for a conference meeting at 7:30 p.m. followed by a regular meeting at 8 p.m.

Marilyn Joyce Lehren September 13, 2011 at 07:10 PM
What do you think of the township's idea to pay to play on Livingston fields? Tell us in comments.
Robert Stern September 13, 2011 at 08:43 PM
It really will come down to what the cost will be. It will be transferred to the people using the field, so that will obviously will raise the cost to play the sports. if it is monor it will not be a problem. But Steve Santola is right on his concern. If the parents are going to pay for the play, the fields better be in good condition. If the fall short, they will surely hear about it strongly.
Livingston Dad September 15, 2011 at 01:04 PM
The idea may have some merit if the town actually took care of the fields. Many fields are in very bad shape and other towns who play on our fields are quite surprised by their condition given how much we pay in taxes. Has anyone seen some of the fields at Burnet Hill and Collins. It looks like the fields have not been taken care of in over 10 years. Grass growing on the baseball paths is just wrong. Then we come to the maintenance of grass fields for soccer. There were times last spring where the grass was over a foot high. Obviously, the town really needs to step it up if they are now going to start charging to use them.
L. Klonsky September 15, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Re: the condition of the fields, even without others "renting" the fields, don't our kids deserve well-maintained places to play? The amount of geese poop on Mt. Pleasant's fields was, in the past, disgusting! It was like sending my son to play in an avian toilet. Thank goodness it's MUCH better this year!
Dave October 03, 2011 at 03:58 AM
It's really disappointing that the Town Council has resorted to TAXING the kids to play sports. Especially when their best answer for it is "everyone else is doing it". Well, Fairfield has a new turf field, as does Caldwell....we have crappy fields that are closed after the smallest of rainstorms. Okner is bug infested, the Pit is the pits, etc. etc. etc. The only good fields in town are those of the American and National leagues....and why is that? Because the volunteers that staff those organizations spend a lot of their own time and energy maintaining them. The joke of this is that if they did an annual drive to improve the fields, I would probably donate triple what they are going to earn off of my three kids for this TAX. But they will use any gimmick they can to reduce expenses in this area so they can piss it away on other wasteful things (like Ms. Meade's fancy office furniture). It's a shame, and someone should rally the parents and fight this. Not because the fees are outrageous, but because they are TAXING the youth now....TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!!!


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