After lengthy discussions and multiple public speakers, the Galt City Council decided on a compromise to staff recommendations for fee rate hikes on sports programs. Rates on basketball currently range from $70 per participant up to $80, depending on the age group. Staff recommended raising the fee to $135. T-ball fees were also recommended to be raised to $100 per participant. Staff also recommended bringing back adult softball at $511 per team.

Interim City Manager Tom Haglund asked council to approve $52,122 in fee increases, saying without the increase sports programs might be lost in the future because of a lack of funds.

“Service fees must cover costs,” Haglund said.

Resident Ryan Montgomery spoke to the issue, stating most coaches work without pay and also do the officiating.

“The inequality presented is off the charts,” Montgomery said. “We are pricing out our youth – becoming the ‘have and have not’s. It’s clear someone is mismanaging the money.”

Nicolle Gregg and Janine DeBastiani-Farren also raised the same issue, saying parents will not be able to afford sports for the children.

Vice Mayor Shawn Farmer said he would not vote for any fee increases that could hurt families, but he would approve bringing back adult softball with the increase in fees.

“I’ve seen a lot of compromising from the people, but not a lot from city hall,” Farmer said. “My dad always said, it’s not how much you make but how much you spend.”

Councilman Rich Lozano said the city needed to reach out more to nonprofits, businesses and schools to run sports programs.

“We need to look at doing business differently,” Lozano said.

Near the end of the discussion, Lozano made a motion to only raise fees up to 50 percent of what staff had advised, and the other 50 (percent) in January 2021, with the exception of first grade boys T-ball and basketball, which will be $75 starting in January. The motion passed 4-1 with Farmer voting no. The motion included bringing back adult softball for the proposed increased amount.

City Development Director Chris Erias updated council on the electronic billboard project. Construction on the new billboard will begin next month and be finished sometime in January. Erias said Clear Channel was very flexible with negotiations, and the final agreement has the city bringing in $100,000 per year or 23 percent of revenue, whichever is greater. All proceeds will go to the Parks and Recreation Department since the sign sits on market property. The city will also receive 5 percent of advertising time on the billboard, and a 10 percent discount will be given to chamber members.

The finished sign will be 65 feet tall and have two 14 foot by 48 foot screens mounted at a V-angle.

Jared Spinelli was sworn in as Galt newest police officer. Michelle Bustamante was honored by the Galt Community of Character Coalition for her Pride in the Community. She was nominated by Erin Salvador who read her letter recommending Bustamante for the honor.

In final words, Haglund told council the Winter Bird Festival had lost a major sponsor, and whether or not to proceed with the festival should be raised at a future meeting. Council agreed to hear the matter at the following meeting.