San Mateo, Belmont and Foster City made a great team the last two years when they joined forces to develop a regional adult softball league.
The directors of the three cities’ Parks and Recreation departments meet once a month and, while discussing some of the challenges they faced in 2011, determined they could benefit from a merger, said Jonathan Gervais, director of Belmont’s Park and Recreation Department.
Due to the success of the initial two-year contract, the cities have been considering entering into a five-year agreement. The San Mateo and Belmont city councils approved the agreement last month and the Foster City Council will hear the proposal Dec. 16.
With approximately 2,470 players between the three cities, softball is a popular adult pastime and an important service to continue, said San Mateo Athletics Coordinator Dan Hibson.
“The numbers have increased steadily over the last few years and softball is alive and well on the Peninsula. The cities of Foster City and Belmont have been a pleasure to work with,” Hibson said.
Before the programs joined, each city was responsible for paying for field maintenance, staff time, scorekeepers, referees, equipment and trophies, Gervais said. Now, Foster City and Belmont are only responsible for maintaining their fields. Creating the regional league relieved the impact of losing a Foster City staff member, said Kevin Miller, director of Foster City’s Parks and Recreation Department.
“The reasons we explored this and we were really interested in it as a partnership, is because we reduced our staff … and we really needed to look at some alternatives that made sense,” Miller said.
San Mateo was chosen to take the lead and administer the league because it has available and appropriate staff, Gervais said. San Mateo collects the team registration funds and divides it based on the number of games that are played in each city, Hibson said.
In 2012, the remaining net revenue was about $25,260, according to a San Mateo staff report. About $17,400 of that was distributed to San Mateo, about $5,800 went to Foster City and about $2,000 went to Belmont, according to the report and city officials.
This year’s spring season ranged between $615 to $795 per team which included 10 games and playoffs if a team qualifies, Hibson said.
About 30 teams play at Edgewater Park in Foster City each week, Miller said. Although the city is getting ready to install synthetic turf at the park next year, the regional league will provide residents with seamless service, Miller said.
All three cities have been looking for ways to navigate budget cuts after the recent recession, so joining teams was a smart move, Gervais said.
“I think it shows that local governments that are doing similar activities can look at joining operations as a potential means of reducing costs. The key is, is the function very similar between the organizations? If it is, then look at it as a way to centralize organizations as a means to cut costs,” Gervais said. “We want to see this as a potential model for the future.”
Foster City is also keeping score and is considering how to incorporate other sports such as basketball and bocce ball, Miller said. The city has been able to provide the same level of service without most players even knowing there’s been an administrative change, Miller said.
Having the cities working together is good for morale and most citizens want to see support between local governments, Gervais said, and his counterparts couldn’t agree more.
“Without the leadership and support from Kevin and Jonathan, there’s no way the regional league would be as successful as it has become,” Hibson said.
For more information about the regional adult softball league visit www.cityofsanmateo.org.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 106