Nassau County Legislator John Ferretti, along with members of the Legislative Majority, have introduced legislation to protect youth organizations such as little leagues, the Boys Scouts and other not for profit agencies from being charged fees for using athletic fields and picnic areas in county parks. In the past, usage fees had always been waived by the Commissioner of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums for youth and senior leagues and other not for profit agencies. However, County Executive Laura Curran has directed the Parks Commissioner to no longer waive these fees. As a result, organizations have received bills for as much as $16,000, without any warning.
“I am shocked that the County Executive has attempted to balance the budget on the backs of little leagues, our children and senior organizations,” said Legislator Ferretti. “This ‘Little League Tax’ creates a hardship on organizations that are only trying to give back to the community. Studies show that kids who play sports are more disciplined, learn to work better as a team, and are more likely to stay out of trouble. In light of the opioid epidemic we face, we should be introducing more extracurricular activity for our youth, not devastating youth organizations by imposing fees to play on fields we already pay for through our property taxes. We must not allow this “Little League Tax” to stand.”
Under the current law, charging the fees is at the discretion of the Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Museums. The proposed legislation would prohibit the commissioner from charging fees to organizations serving Nassau County’s youth and senior populations or for charitable purposes.