Pay to play in La Puente

An article I wrote that ran in today’s paper:

LA PUENTE — Officials are considering cutting a break for local sports leagues who pay to use the city’s fields.

The City Council voted 3-0 Thursday to have staff members look into restructuring the city’s parks fee schedule, so leagues with less than 60 percent of members who live in La Puente can pay cheaper rates.

Mayor Louie Lujan and Councilwoman Nadia Mendoza did not attend the meeting.

Several years ago, the city approved a two-tiered fee schedule for sports organizations who use the parks. Leagues with at least 60 percent of La Puente residents as members pay a resident rate. Leagues that don’t meet that threshold pay a more expensive non-resident rate.

At Thursday’s special meeting, officials cited tough economic times in the proposal to bump that threshold to 51 percent.

The issue still needs to come back before the council for a final approval.

The council’s decision was prompted by concerns from the La Puente Junior All-American Football league. Organization officials said their usage rates recently jumped from $3,100 to $9,400 per season because they failed to meet the 60 percent standard.

This was a pretty heated issue at the special City Council meeting that was called last week. I’m told a lot of residents and supporters of the football league showed up, many of whom spoke on the league’s behalf.

It seems the city originally was just considering scaling back the fees for that one particular league, based on their concerns. But now it sounds like they’re considering a cutback across the board for all sports organizations.

We’ll see if it gets final approval.