The Apopka City Council voted 3-2 at its Wednesday meeting to purchase four scoreboards for baseball fields at the Northwest Recreation Complex. The initial deposit to purchase them and install electricity to each location is $61,500, which would come out of the General Fund reserve. The scoreboard purchase was not on the budget, and that became an issue for some of the Council.
Mayor Joe Kilsheimer, Commissioners Kyle Becker, and Diane Velazquez voted in favor of the purchase, while Commissioners Doug Bankson and Billie Dean voted against the measure.
"My concern with the scoreboard is that it was not budgeted, and we are dealing with a lot of expenditures, like the sludge issue," said Commissioner Doug Bankson. "Although I see the benefit, I'm against the idea at this time. I don't see the necessity of it and it's not budgeted."
Kilsheimer saw it as a chance to get something sooner than expected, and with no strain on city employees.
"This is an amenity for our recreation complex that we can get sooner rather than later and that we can get with minimal impact on the staff. We don't have to go out and manage this process. We're short-staffed anyway. I'm in favor with moving forward on this because we can get an amenity on this that makes the fields more attractive for the public, more attractive for tournaments and as an experience for the people using the fields. I think it's the right thing to do. And as far as the money is concerned, we're going to spend a little money to make a lot of money over the next seven years."
According to the agenda packet for the March 1st City Council meeting, the new scoreboards will be placed on Fields A, B, C, & D, and would be utilized by the adult softball league and numerous baseball and softball tournaments throughout the year.
Commissioner Kyle Becker confirmed Bankson's concerns but saw the overall project as a benefit he would want to pursue.
"I tend to agree with Commissioner Bankson. It would have been nice to have this during the budgeting process. I don't know what would have changed from last September until now to change the sense of urgency that you wouldn't have anticipated earlier, but on the other hand, it is a nice addition. I don't know what the ultimate priority was for starting this negotiation, but obviously, Little League is already starting. So we have a contract value of $132,000, but we would spend $100,000 if we bought them anyway. So we're paying $32,000 over, but at the same time realizing revenues of $430,000, so we're netting $400,000 for the City. But Commissioner Bankson, I hear you loud and clear."
The package price for four scoreboards is $132,200, but the City is only responsible for a deposit of $46,500 and a $15,000 cost to supply power to each location. The remaining scoreboard balance of $85,700 would be covered through sponsorships to be sought out by Major Display, the company selling the scoreboards to the city. Sponsorship revenue would be collected and split 50/50 between the City and Major Display. Once the full cost of the four scoreboards is met ($85,700) the agreement would then allow for a 70/30 split (City/Major Display). An annual estimate of revenue for sponsorship is projected to be $100,000.
Velazquez also wanted to move forward because she is concerned Apopka is falling behind other communities.
"I like these scoreboards because there are other cities and counties building parks to rival ours, and I know from different organizations that they're starting to look at other counties and cities to take their teams there because in some cases they are getting better deals and better fields. We're really trying to keep up with that competition, but if this is going to happen, this is the height of the season. I realize the investment, and I think it's something the City of Apopka should be doing. What I've seen is our tendency in the past to wait to do things, and then we get behind the eight-ball and we have to try to catch up."