The Nassau County Legislature on Monday unanimously passed legislation that would reverse Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s decision to begin charging non-profits to use county athletic fields and parks.
County Executive Curran does has the power to veto the legislation, but it was unclear if she would. Her spokesman Michael Martino released a statement that read: “The financial impact of the legislation cannot be determined until the criteria is reviewed by the parks department and the Office of Legislative Budget Review.”
Representatives from a half dozen senior mens and little leagues testified before the legislature at its March 26, 2018 meeting, urging the passage of the law. They said the thousands of dollars in extra fees they’d have to pay would cripple their ability to continue providing recreational programs for thousands of children and adults throughout the county.
The groups that were represented included Age 60 and over Senior Men’s Baseball; Age 70 and over Senior Men’s Baseball; Wantagh Seaford P.A.L. and Little Leagues from Seaford, Wantagh and North Bellmore.
Under the current law, charging the fees is at the discretion of the Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Museums. The new law would prohibit the commissioner from charging fees to organizations serving Nassau County’s youth and senior populations or for charitable purposes.
County legislator Steve Rhoads, who co-authored the new legislation with Legislator Rose Walker, said: “At a time when we are fighting an opioid epidemic in Nassau County, we should be making it easier for kids to have access to a positive alternative like Little league, not harder.”
Today, after the vote, Rhoads said he was grateful for the strong bipartisan support he received in unanimously passing the legislation.
“This was a clear issue of right versus wrong and it’s encouraging that together we were able to correct the wrong that was about to be done to these groups by the Curran administration,” he said.
The move by Curran’s Chief Deputy County Executive on Feb 27, lifting the fee waiver, triggered two rallies on behalf of the Seaford Little League. League President Steve Brown received a $16,000 bill from the County to use the fields at Washington Avenue Park in Seaford this year, just days before the start of the 2018 season, potentially jeopardizing the Little League’s season.
On Monday, March 19, 2018, Curran proposed an agreement to Brown that would allow the league to continue its season as scheduled. Brown said the League’s board approved the proposal, the details of which would be released soon.