By DAVID GREEN
Representatives from Fayette’s park board attended the Aug. 22 village council meeting to discuss questions about park board spending.
Board member Scott Wagner suggested that council owed the board an apology after criticizing the group for making purchases that council approved.
“You came to us and asked us to buy a lawn mower,” Wagner said, “then you turn around and say we’re spending too much money. It made us look incompetent.”
Wagner referred to the Aug. 1 State Line Observer article that reported on questions and criticism about park board spending. Mayor Ruth Marlatt said the issue probably should have been discussed at the park board meeting.
Or, on the other hand, Wagner said, the park board could have been invited to attend council’s committee-of-the-whole meeting to discuss the issue.
Village fiscal officer Lisa Zuver said she would take blame for saying that park board spending was out of control.
“The park had a balance of $55,000 at the beginning of the year and it’s down to $20,000,” she said.
More than $20,000 was spent on refurbishing the infield of the main ball diamond, she said.
That was a project that’s been neglected for years, Wagner said, and the board has saved for three years in order to tackle a big project.
“But it wasn’t a savings because the pool got closed,” Zuver said. “If you still had the pool, you wouldn’t have any money.”
Without the pool, Wagner answered, those costs aren’t a concern. The only spending out of the ordinary was the ball field project.
The Observer article actually makes no reference to “out-of-control spending.” The phrase was used in a previous story about village spending in general. In the article Wagner referred to, Zuver invited council members to look at the spending report and see where park money went.
Marlatt noted that the ball field project and moving playground equipment both cost more than expected when council approved the work. She said she was sorry that issue came out the way it did, but council members did have questions.
Audience member Shirley Jo Wagner said that when times get tough, people tend to point a finger at each other. Instead, she said, everyone needs to work together to build the park program—a very important part of the community.
Park director Nick Ramos told council that the board is considering starting a fall co-ed softball league for Sunday afternoon play. He knows of four teams that are interested.
Marlatt praised Ramos for the time he spent helping to prepare for the Bullthistle Festival.
Council approved the transfer of funds left over in the Blues Festival account to cover some costs of summer ball leagues.