The City of Rexburg has added more money to the budget for the soon-to-be-completed baseball and softball quad-complex project.
The Rexburg City Council passed a budget adjustment to add $330,000 to the project during the Jan. 6 council meeting, bringing the total cost of the project to $2.7 million
Matt Nielson, city chief financial officer, told the council that most of the additional funds would cover miscellaneous equipment costs including landscaping equipment, dugouts, benches and bleachers, among others.
The adjustment does not include funding for the scoreboard and PA sound system at the complex, which is estimated to be another $65,000.
“Basically, we feel like the $65,000 for the scoreboards and PA sound system, if we can’t raise the funds for that, then we go without it until some future date until we can raise it.” Nielson said.
The $330,000 will be transferred from the city’s general fund. He said this gives the city the ability to still seek the funds to come through donations, but also complete the project if the donations don’t come through.
“From what you guys passed on your final budget adjustment last year, you’re really about 13.8% over on the project,” Nielson said.
Councilwoman Bryanna Johnson said there were many promises made about donations when the council initially approved a 2.1 million budget last year and she would not have voted for it if she knew the project would be overbudgeted as is.
“If we don’t see the donations, that is a very large amount of money that I’m not comfortable with providing when they didn’t keep their end of the bargain,” she said.
Councilman Brad Wolfe said he has been in contact with potential donors for the project. Although he couldn’t name any names because the donations are not finalized, he reported to the council that $360,000 could be donated to the project.
“If these people fall through, we’ll get somebody else,” Wolfe said. “It may take two years who knows, but it’ll come back. I won’t leave the City Council until that quad is paid for.”
Many council members expressed concern about how far the project has come and the need to finish it, including having the scoreboard and the sound system. Councilman Mikel Walker said leagues may not schedule tournaments at the complex if it isn’t fully finished.
“I don’t want a place without a scoreboard and a sound system,” said Councilman Christopher Mann. “I feel like we’ve booked passage to New York City and we’re getting off in Buffalo. We’ve got to go all the way.”
The council decided that the $65,000 for the scoreboards and sound system will be budgeted in at a later date if needed.
Wolfe and Mayor Jerry Merrill said the city underfunded the project from the start, due to not knowing everything the complex would need to be completed.
“There’s some things that we’ve missed along the way and things like that,” Merrill said. “Overall we’re trying to produce a good product here and have it ready so (recreation can use it).”
Merrill added that leagues are already vying for game and practice times at the complex, and he thinks it will be heavily used.
“As that complex is finished … you can show it to a lot more people and I think donations would come easier at that point than they are right now. So I’m still feeling very good about it,” Wolfe said.