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Saturday, March 05, 2016

Westfield Soccer Association Gets a Free Ride While Raking In Hundreds of Thousands $$$$$


The Westfield Soccer Association has requested permission from the Westfield Board of Education to use Kehler Stadium, once again.  The WSA has plans to light the athletic field nestled within a residential neighborhood at the expense of Westfield taxpayers.
WSA Trustee Peter Franks
     WSA trustee Peter Franks appeared at a board of education meeting in late February to present the lighting proposal on behalf of the privately run soccer association.

     Again, the WSA wants to utilize a board of education field in an effort to circumvent the "pay to play" policies of field usage in neighboring towns.  The WSA is required to pay $10 per player for the usage of town owned fields in Westfield as per town code statute cited below.  By utilizing Kehler Stadium and other Westfield Board of Education fields, the WSA pays nothing and the Westfield taxpayer picks up the cost of field maintenance, repairs, and replacement.
     TFoTM has learned that last years WSA registration fees and other related costs were in excess of $800 per player.  Additional personal coaching/training fees are extra as are the purchase of uniforms and equipment.
     Based on the WSA's membership at all levels of play, well over a half a million dollars is being collected by The WSA......and that's a low ballpark figure.  TFoTM is in the process of obtaining the WSA's financial data.
     TFoTM has asked the Westfield Board of Education how much they charge private sports leagues to use their fields.  There is no record of any fees paid by any of the private user groups such as the WSA, so for now and into the future, Westfield taxpayers will continue to foot the costs of the WSA's use of BOE fields.
     The Westfield Soccer Association website states that it charges each player a $15 fee for the use of town owned fields such as Sid Fey and Houlihan fields located on Lambertsmill Rd. at the intersection on Rahway Ave.
     Town code requires private users groups, such as the WSA, to pay $10 per player for the use of town owned fields.  It appears that the WSA is profiting $5 per player, bringing in thousands of dollars into their coffers without paying so much as a dime to the Westfield Board of Education for the use of multiple BOE fields.

Sec. 16-28. Athletics programs; fees and charges.
(a) Westfield –based youth athletic programs:
A fee of ten dollars per child, per season, per sport shall be charged to, and collected from, each private sports league that uses a field administered by the recreation department, except Board of Education fields. This subsection to take effect January 1, 2006.
(b) Non-Westfield-based and adult athletic programs.
A fee of thirty dollars per game, per three-hour period, shall be charged to adult leagues and/or teams, or all non-Westfield-based teams and/or leagues for use of a field administered by the recreation department, except Board of Education fields.
(G.O. No. 1381, § II; G.O. No. 1438, § III; G.O. No. 1511, § II; G.O. No. 1699, § I; G.O. No. 1851, § I.) 

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