Money to Burn and Poor Vision

by Lou Binninger

Marysville City Council, buried in millions of dollars in debt, decided last week to pay a consultant $12,000 to conduct a one-day retreat and have dinner with the mayor and city manager. It must be nice having all that money lying around, all courtesy of the taxpayers.

In the past, these annual events to set goals and brainstorm were led by the city manager or a local leader. Former city manager Walter Munchheimer conducted the last one but neither the council nor our $100,000 a year City Clerk could locate a copy for review. Guess it wasn’t that memorable. At least it didn’t cost $12,000.

Neither could the highpoints of a council gathering led by former Yuba County Superintendent of Schools Ric Teagarden be recalled. Teagarden annually guided his board trustees through such a meeting and provided attendees with cold drinks, sandwiches and coffee. Back then, administrators had the skills to lead and that’s what you paid them for. Maybe the refreshments cost a hundred.

The Council also agreed to hire another consultant for $22,400 to find a new fire chief for their one station department. With an amazing network of communications throughout the firefighting world a job solicitation for firefighters attracts attention from around the west.

Couldn’t the council use the same network to call for a chief without dishing out $22,400? How about contacting retired captains and battalion chiefs in this community and nearby that may be interested? At least they wouldn’t leave before they run out of business cards.

The city council appears to have little interest in the soccer field complex in Riverfront Park. A nonprofit soccer group took over maintenance of the fields from the city years ago and raises money to care for the fields.

The complex is utilized by thousands of children and their families. Thousands of visitors each year travel here to compete in tournaments. That all adds up to purchases of shoes, clothing, hotels rooms, food and fuel from local retailers.

Last year’s flooding damaged the entire river lowlands for which the city received federal monies for repairs and clean-up. Little if any funds went toward repairing the biggest sports complex in the two counties. Like the closed boat ramp that was ignored for years it seems like the city council has little vision for upgrading the valuable soccer complex to become an even bigger asset to the community.

If the complex were improved more tournaments could be hosted bringing more young athletes and their families to town. Currently, the local soccer program has more than 20 traveling teams competing around the state.

Photos from the 1900s show a Marysville with developed recreation opportunities along the Feather River. The city has miles of river frontage along the Yuba and Feather Rivers. However, city leadership has ignored the opportunity to take advantage of this asset. With a little revenue and leveraging volunteer help the riverside could be developed into a source of pleasure and pride for residents.

Nature abhors a vacuum. If the riverfront acreage is left abandoned others will find a use for it.

The city should make it easier to use the amphitheater and look at renovating the baseball parks. With these improvements along with the motocross, improved river frontage, boat ramp and soccer fields, the park would be busy year around. That all translates to better business for the twin cities and great activity centers for residents.

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