By Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer
PALMYRA — The Fluvanna Board of Supervisors approved funding a U12 AAU football team in a 3-2 vote.
The money, with a cap at $19,965, will help with startup costs of the program. After the first year, the program will be close to self-sufficient from registration fees. Ongoing costs such as equipment replacement will occur but it is hopeful the program will fundraise to cover such costs.
Don Weaver (Cunningham District) and Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) dissented in the board’s vote. Weaver raised concerns of the issue coming up outside of budget time.
“That’s too much money to pull out arbitrarily, not budgeted,” said Weaver.
The board will use unspent ‘board contingency’ funds. This money was originally appropriated for contracted emergency management services in FY13. The contracted services were less than budgeted. There was $30,000 left in the contingency funds.
Ullenbruch was concerned about the precedent of funding a sports program sets.
“We’ll be obligated morally to accept [another proposal] once we accept this one,” said vice chairman Ullenbruch.
Joe Chesser (Palmyra District) also was concerned with the precedent and was publicly against it until chairman Shaun Kenney (Columbia District) and Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) spoke in favor of the proposal.
“I don’t think you are going to open up the floodgate,” said Booker. “I appreciate the fact people see the gaps.”
Booker went on to praise the option of encouraging children participate in athletics, be in engage beyond the classroom and associate with dedicated adults volunteering to coach the team.
Kenney noted the program is mainly self-sufficient once the initial capital expense is met. The ongoing maintenance of equipment can be covered by the program’s fundraising efforts. Already the program tried fundraising as a way to pay but became short on time because of hopes to fielding a team this fall.
“These are one-time costs, by and large,” said Kenney.
The idea of a football team was raised because of a gap in the current recreation options and high school sponsored teams. Fluvanna recreation leagues do not include seventh graders. If they do allow seventh graders, they have to be under 100 pounds. The best option currently is to send the children to Charlottesville.
This past year the high school instituted a ninth grade team to keep eighth and ninth graders together. This created a void for seventh graders. The hope with this new AAU team, children can form relationships to develop better once they start the high school teams.
The team hopes to start in the fall. For information on joining the program, contact the Fluvanna parks and recreation department.
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