Charging fees the right thing to do

Published 10:45 pm Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Selma City Council was right on point during its meeting this week by voting for mandatory participation fees in recreation league sports.

Selma was unique from every Parks and Recreation Department around the state because of its almost total monetary support of players.

It had been a generous gesture, but one that proved economically irresponsible given the current state of the economy.

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It was the hope of department director Elton Reece that a $25 fee would prompt parents to make sure their children arrived to practices and games. Ultimately, Reece and the city decided on $10.

Whether or not you agree with the amount, an overwhelming 8-0 vote sent the message Selma is done giving free rides to disinterested parents. Only Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw, who had already left the meeting, did not vote.

Understandably, some parents who actively participate in their children’s activities may be upset at spending extra money. But there are a couple of things to consider.

Leagues in cities near Selma charge at least four times more and require that parents volunteer time to support the leagues.

Also, without the fees, it could mean the loss of jobs or other vital services.

These are hard times, and we have to make smart decisions for our city.