Funding for the new press box at the Elma field used by the EMW Sports football program is assured – but when Marilla pays its share of the bill is up in the air.
The issue arose during Tuesday’s work session of the Marilla Town Board, when trustees discussed the dispute between Elma Supervisor Dennis Powers and Marilla Supervisor Earl Gingerich Jr. on payment for the press box – used by the athletics program, which serves residents of Elma, Marilla and Wales.
”I will pay the bill we owe Elma but not now,” Gingerich told board members, adding that funding was not included in the 2014 budget, which was in place before he assumed office on Jan. 1.
Gingerich also said he is unclear about the percentage owed by Marilla in the $23,950 bill. All three municipalities had signed onto an agreement in 2010 to share expenses for capital improvements at the Creek Road field.
However, the Town Board and Gingerich agreed to place the expenditure on the agenda of its next meeting tonight.
The agreement embraced in 2010, which is effective through 2029, requires the towns to be notified of needed capital improvements in a timely manner.
Gingerich said Elma’s Powers failed to notify him before seeking bids for the press box contract, which were awarded June 18. Powers, he said, telephoned the day after the contract was awarded, when the Marilla supervisor said the town’s share for the press box would be included in the 2015 budget.
Brian Nolan of the EMW (Elma, Marilla and Wales) Sports Board, noted the old press box was a danger and was torn down by the Elma Highway Department last week. Meanwhile, the EMW football season gets underway Aug. 1.
When contacted, Powers made no excuse for why he waited so long to call Gingerich. However, he said the decaying press box posed an emergency.
”With or without Marilla we will pay the bill and the press box will be finished by Aug. 1,” he said.
Councilwoman Barbara Spanitz, who noted the board had been notified of the problem when George Gertz was still supervisor, raised concern that the town’s youth might be impacted by the late payment.
Gingerich said there will be no impact.