In an effort to cover operating costs, rates for the city of Union’s softball and volleyball leagues could be increased.

Earlier this year the city’s park advisory board discussed the possibility of raising rates. Before making a decision, the board requested data from the 2019 season.

At the Oct. 24 meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Angela Lairmore presented the data.

The city hosts both summer and fall softball leagues and indoor and outdoor volleyball leagues. Lairmore said the rates have remained the same for several years — $125 per team for volleyball and $325 per team for softball.

The city pays for officials and provides equipment like volleyballs and softball bases. The city also maintains the facilities.

“We can’t operate at our current rate,” Lairmore said in May.

Three of the four leagues lost money on a weekly average, she said. For the 11-week summer softball season, the city spent an average of $327.51 per week. The city generated $295.45 in revenue weekly for a weekly deficit of $32.06.

For the seven-week season, Lairmore said the city lost an average of $4.72 a week.

In volleyball, she said the outdoor sand volleyball season lost an average of $38.78 a week. The indoor season, which lasts nine weeks, turned a profit of $28.38 per week.

Lairmore pointed out the city doesn’t have to host the leagues. She said while some parks operations, like the pool, can run at a deficit, the sports leagues shouldn’t. 

“We can’t be losing money,” she said. 

In order to generate more revenue, Lairmore proposed raising the team rates for each league.

For the summer softball league, she proposed raising the team fee from $325 to $400. The fall league would change from $225 to $300.

For volleyball, the league fee would change from $125 to $190 for the sand season and from $125 to $150 for the indoor season.

Lairmore said the increase for the indoor season would help cover a wage increase for the volleyball official. She said the city had a longtime official who has worked games for the same rates for years, but at a lower rate than the softball umpires.

Lairmore said her goal was to have all officials paid the same rate. 

She said the rates really haven’t been changed for years and felt doing softball and volleyball together made sense. 

Lairmore said the changes could lead to a reduction in teams, but she didn’t thing the rates were too high. Lairmore compared the proposed rates to other leagues in the area and found the prices comparable, she said. 

The park board agreed to the changes and recommended approval. The board of aldermen will have the final say on if the fee changes become official.

City Administrator Russell Rost requested a copy of the comparable leagues to have for the board of aldermen before it votes on the changes.

Rost said the goal would be to have the fee changes on the November board of aldermen meeting agenda.

Lairmore said she would like the changes in place for the 2020 season.