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Ball field fees will remain the same for 2013

The Hudson City Council voted 4-2 Monday night to accept the Park Board's recommendation for no increase in Grandview Park ball field fees for 2013.

At its previous meeting, the council had asked Public Works and Parks Director Tom Zeuli to investigate the per-game cost of operating the park's softball and baseball fields to help determine if an increase in fees was justified.

"They are paying pretty close to what they are using," Zeuli reported to the council Monday night, speaking of the Hudson Softball Association and other organizations that use the fields.

The adult organizations that use the fields are charged $30 per field for night games, plus $45 per game for lighting and $25 per field for field preparation.

City Finance Officer Neil Soltis reported that the per-game cost of field lighting for night games is $79.79.

The Hudson Boosters are charged $20 per game for their youth softball and baseball programs, which take place during the daylight hours.

Zeuli said the Park Board considered that Hudson's fees are higher than those charged in River Falls and New Richmond in recommending no increase.

Alderperson Lori Bernard wasn't impressed with that reasoning.

"I don't think the church league is going to go to New Richmond to play," she said. "I think the important thing is that whatever costs are incurred are covered."

She added that she didn't know if the neighboring cities' facilities are as nice as Hudson's.

Council members appeared to disagree about whether the fees paid by the softball association and other organizations cover the cost of operating the ball fields.

"So we're still in the hole?" Alderperson Mary Yacoub asked.

"I think, for the most part, the teams are making an effort to cover the costs," Zeuli responded.

Council President Rich Vanselow said the organizations are more than paying for lighting.

Zeuli said the softball association is considering taking over the field preparation for their games, which would reduce the city's revenue, but also the city staff time needed to do the work.

Alderperson Randy Morrissette II made the motion to keep the ball field fees at their current level. It was seconded by Alderperson Kurt TeWinkel and also supported by Alderperson John Hoggatt and Council President Vanselow.

Bernard and Yacoub opposed the motion.

Vanselow ran the meeting in the absence of Mayor Alan Burchill.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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