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Rec fields agreement between school district and city pending approval

Saratoga Springs could resume management and maintenance of the East and West Side Recreation Fields if a proposed 10-year agreement between the city and the school district is passed by the City Council at its March 15 meeting and by the school board on March 22.

The proposed agreement, from April 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2020, states that the school district will pay the city annual fees for operations and capital improvements ranging from $130,000 in the first year to $150,000 in the final year, according to information from Saratoga Springs City School District.

The fields are owned by the school district, but were managed and maintained by the city from 1978 until January of this year, when the school district assumed the responsibility.

Through our conversations with our own staff and with city officials, we concluded it is in the best interest of the community and the school district to enter into a long-term agreement with the city, said Dr. Janice White, superintendent of schools in a statement. "The city's leadership in recreation will continue and we are confident that the needs of the school district will be best served as a result of this agreement."

Through a detailed cost analysis, school district officials determined that the annual fees the district will pay the city are comparable to expenses for the district to provide the services. However, the city's decades of service in community sports and recreation, as well as the requests from local sports organizations, were important factors in the agreement.

"We, along with city officials, are responding to the community, and agree that this agreement will best serve all users of the East and West Side fields," White said.

Mayor Scott Johnson, who together with Commissioner Skip Scirocco negotiated on behalf of the City, stressed this proposed agreement fully serves the needs of the community and is fiscally responsible for both sides.

"With a renewed commitment to collaborate and cooperate, this agreement better serves the taxpayers while also protecting and advancing the undeniable benefits of these fields to us all," said Johnson.

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