An appeal on behalf of Fergus Falls Youth Baseball by Chad Felstul Wednesday persuaded the Committee of the Whole to reverse a bump in city-owned field user fees.

The president of Fergus Falls Youth Baseball appeared before committee members to protest city finance director, Bill Sonmor’s proposal of a $35 practice fee and a $55 game fee.

At the present time the city does not charge for prepping Legion Field and Farmers Field at DeLagoon Park.

Felstul made a good case convincing committee members saying user fees to youth baseball’s financial burdens is not in the best interest of the city or his group.

“Our plan is to set up a new scoreboard at the Legion Field,” Felstul said, adding his group also wants to replace speakers at both fields and include batting cages. 

Felstul said the plan was to begin fundraising this summer but the COVID-19 pandemic convinced the group that the timing was not right.

“It’s a fee for the prepping of the fields but the council decided to go the other way and that is OK,” Sonmor said.

The committee also decided not to charge youth softball to prep fields.

Fergus Falls Public Schools may yet encounter charges for use of the baseball and softball fields at DeLagoon.

The remainder of Sonmor’s 2021 fee schedule proposals were OK’d by the committee.

Fergus Falls Public Works director Len Taylor’s recommendation the city council authorize Mayor Ben Schierer and Andrew Bremseth, the city administrator, to sign a maintenance agreement with the Buse, Aurdal and Dane Prairie township boards was forwarded to Monday’s City Council meeting. The agreement will provide gravel road maintenance on East Main Street from the limits to Birchwood Estates Road. Taylor also recommended an agreement with Aurdal Township for the maintenance of Broken Down Dam Road from East Main Street northward to the city limits.

Taylor pointed out that going forward the city will be reimbursed actual hourly costs for equipment and labor to maintain the roadways.

The committee also voted to enter into an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for a fishing pier on Hoot Lake in Godel Park.

The DNR is covering transportation and construction of the pier — a price tag estimated at between $35,000 and $40,000.

Taylor told the committee the city would cover the cost of a parking lot and walkway to the pier with funds coming from the park capital outlay. Defraying some of the costs will be the Fergus Falls Fish and Game Club. The pier will be covered under the city’s insurance.

The pier is expected to be in by October.

City engineer Brian Yavarow’s recommendation to terminate a petitioned project in the Deer Valley addition was accepted.

The proposed financial summary for covering the gravel surface came in at $707,000. The total cost was broken down into a special assessment of $327,000 and the city’s cost of $380,000.

In 2019 the City Council accepted a petition to install both bituminous and curb and gutter improvements. 

Yavarow said that because the city cannot assess the improvement cost beyond the individual property appraisal benefit, letters were sent to all abutting properties.  As of mid-September, no responses had been received.

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