SELAH — Selah city officials and the Selah School District are discussing sharing expenses for maintaining tennis and basketball courts after a city councilman questioned who should pay for tennis court repairs.
School district officials have asked the city to provide bids from contractors for repairs to all eight of the Carlon Park courts, as well as just doing four of them. But the district is also asking the city to consider paying for repairs to school basketball courts that are also used by city recreation leagues, a district official said.
“We have been good neighbors, and we have not asked them to invest in restoring the basketball courts (in the past),” said Chris Scacco, assistant superintendent for district operations. The district wants to continue its relationship as a good neighbor with the city, she said.
The issue came up when council members voted on the 2020 budget in November. Councilman Jeremy Burke questioned a $56,000 appropriation for the tennis courts. Burke said his concern was that the school district was using the courts most of the time and should bear a proportional share of the maintenance costs.
“Is the city being asked to subsidize an entity with a larger tax base?” Burke asked during the council meeting. The Selah School District’s boundaries extend beyond the city limits into the unincorporated area.
“I’m not trying to stop the tennis courts from being repaired, but apportioning who is paying for them,” Burke said.
Council members voted 4-1 to remove the item from the budget until an agreement is reached with the school district.
Scacco said the district has paid to resurface the tennis courts two or three times over the past 20 years. But she noted that the district had never asked the city to help with restoring the indoor basketball courts that are used by the city.
Athletic Director Jake Davis was approached by city officials to discuss the resurfacing, Scacco said, and the matter was taken up at a Dec. 3 meeting between Davis, Recreation and Tourism Manager Treesa Morales and Public Works Director Joe Henne.
At that meeting, the district asked the city to get bids on the cost of doing the entire tennis complex and four of the courts. The district also proposed that the city pay $4,500 a year toward the maintenance of the basketball courts.
“I think it is a reasonable request,” Scacco said.
City Administrator Don Wayman said that it had been the past practice to have each entity pay for the upkeep of their own property while allowing the other to use it for free, and that the council’s action would naturally move the district to ask for maintenance funds in return.
And he said paying for the basketball courts is something the city will likely do.
“We’re going to do well by the school district,” Wayman said. “They are carrying more than their fair share of the weight.”