Longtime youth sports coordinator Jan Mathis as well as an announcement by Councilman George LoBianco that he will not seek another term this Fall, were among the big announcements made during the North Collins Town Board meeting on June 12.
In her report, Recreation Director Rozalin Warren told the board that an effort is being made to bring all town recreation programs under town control. That includes the highly successful Youth 12 and under soccer program that annually draws over 150 children each Fall. Mathis began the program five years ago and has supervised its growth. He has, over that time, operated under the moniker of the “North Collins Soccer Club,” using fees received to provide uniforms, equipment, refreshments and referees through an independent checking account. He has also run the “North Collins Girls’ Softball League” for the past seven years. Mathis felt that his program was being singled out with other groups such as Little League, not having to follow the same rules. Warren responded that the other groups have been notified but since they are already underway this year, it was decided to wait until the new season to make the changes.
Mathis said that the current system works well because it gives him the flexibility to purchase materials when needed. “I don’t want to buy things with my own money and then wait months to get reimbursed by the town,” Mathis said.
Town Supervisor, Rosaline Seege, confirmed that she had instructed Warren to begin the process for all recreation groups that operate under the town insurance umbrella. She cited the current audit of the town books as a key reason for the change, “If you are doing anything through the town, it has to become town money and must be transparent,” she said. Seege admitted that she was not familiar with the operations of the soccer league and offered to speak with Mathis following the meeting. Mathis didn’t want any part of it saying, “I’m done with the program, I’ve done it long enough, and I’ve been beaten up over the years.” He left the board with an extensive 24-step outline for league operations for whoever will succeed him, five of which he has already completed. He also turned in $7,092.95 from the league’s now closed account including cash and checks from this year’s registration.
With that Mathis exited. Seege said the town was grateful for Mathis’ service over the years, “But we have to do things differently.”
The exchange prompted Councilman Michael Perry to say, “Rose has been bucking horns with people since she took office. We need to let her set up her own system and I’m standing beside her.”
Citing pending schedule changes, Councilman LoBianco announced that he would not seek reelection to another term this year. He expressed the hope that he can do a good job over the remainder of his term but said, “I’ve lost friends over this job. There is more work than people think and I wish whoever is my successor the best of luck.”
Paul Lawton brought his concerns over the plaque designating the town park in New Oregon as Frances Danker Park being moved from its original location. He felt since the land was donated by Danker, proper recognition should be given. Town Clerk Margaret Orrange shared a different history on the parcel saying the town purchased the main section of the park and a stipulation was made by the seller that the park would be named for Danker. Additional land around the park was donated by the Schaus family. David Winter, highway superintendent said he encountered two problems with the sign three years ago, it was in rough shape and had been installed on the county right-of-way. He said he has refurbished the sign and placed it now “in a much more respectful place surrounded by flowers.”
Winter further reported the the landfill and road shoulders have been mowed, although the roadside mower on order has not yet been received. He also noted three roads were repaved and oil and chipping of other roads should be completed in July, weather permitting.
Councilman Marian Vanni reported that the Eden-North Collins Food Pantry seeks to return to its original plans to construct a building on town property adjacent to the Senior Center. Last year the town agreed to make a town-owned parcel on the other side of Fricano Park available to the Pantry which would also house a new home for the Emergency Squad.