NEWTON, MA — The Newton Sports Fields Committee is facing a backlash after approving a plan to raise taxes for the families of young athletes.
The new plan will implement a “per-player, per-season fee,” which would cost youth sports programs like Newton Girls Soccer and Newton Youth Soccer up to an additional $50,000 a year.
Last month, the proposal was formally rejected by nearly all of Newton’s youth programs. Indeed, team leaders say it ignores the $90,000 they are already paying in maintenance costs, provides no details on where the funds will be spent, and ignores comments. provided by youth programs.
“The decision-making process has been delegated to a three-person sub-committee made up exclusively of members of the Parks and Recreation Commission who have been appointed, not to represent sports programs, but to ensure representation at the neighborhoods,” Newton executives said. Sports programs for young people in a letter to the Parks and Recreation Commission. “Establishing a fee structure without sports programs having any voting privileges is literally ‘Taxation without Representation’.”
In their letter, the team leaders presented a counter-proposal that would allow programs to pay for premium maintenance without overpaying.
Despite the conflict, the Fields Committee rejected the counter-proposal and insists that the money will be directly reinvested in the maintenance of the fields. The exact details of the implementation of this claim have yet to be decided.
“They don’t want to discuss our concerns, that’s kind of all we don’t want from officials, which is not to work with residents,” said Justin Traxler, president of Newton Girls Soccer.
So what happened at the Fields committee meeting this week?
On Friday, the field committee met to discuss and vote on the proposal, ultimately moving it forward with a 3-0 vote. The meeting began with positive and encouraging messages from committee members.
“Insinuating that we’re not doing anything,” said Buzz Dunker of the Fields committee. “These field fees will be used directly and you will see improvements.”
Several local sports team leaders responded to the Ground Committee’s positivity by expressing concern about the new plan and calling for transparency about where the fees go.
“What you’re doing is for us, not with us,” Traxler said.
“Since I have been involved with Newton pitches have been an issue,” added Clifford Slater, chairman of Newton Youth Soccer.
“I hear you guys, it’s $10, but it’s another $50,000 for our organization,” he continued. “We would like to take a step back, delay this and make sure we have our arms around the problem.”
The committee ultimately recommended the proposal as is to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture. It is expected to come into effect later this year, with the exact date to be determined.
“I don’t want anyone to think this funding is going to be a miracle where all of a sudden all the fields will transform overnight,” said Nicole Banks, commissioner of parks, recreation and culture. “That is going to take time.”
“We’re ready to have the conversation this coming year and continue to have those conversations,” she continued. “The fees will be paid into a revolving account and it is as transparent as possible.”