Sunday, January 8, 2012

Greeting from Southern Little League

Please read this important message from Bob Hams, Southern Little League President:

Hello Everyone,

With the holiday season coming to an end, it is time for us to begin planning for the next softball and baseball season at Southern. 2011 was a very successful season with over 650 softball and baseball games played at Southern. From Coach-Pitch thru Big League we would like to congratulate everyone on a great season.

In March we received a letter from the IRS to undergo a review of our books to determine our non-profit status along with over 500 Little Leagues around the country. The IRS reviewed 2008 thru 2010. Southern Little League has been declared exempt and is covered under the Little League blanket 501(c)3. Some changes were made following the review in the way Southern operates. It was declared by the IRS that our Concession managers and our grounds crew are employees and therefore we can’t issue them 1099’s. We would have to withhold taxes and insurance if we wanted to continue as usual. The decision was made based on recommendations from the IRS and also financial advisors to move away from employing people directly thru Southern. Starting with last season we hired Axios, Inc. to handle our staffing needs. This service provides Southern with the ability to have the manpower needed to operate without the management and liability that we would have to have if we were the employer. This service worked out extremely well for us and we plan on using them again in 2012.

With the declaration from the IRS came a 33% increase in the cost of the individuals needed to staff the Little League with taxes and insurance as well as a modest fee from Axios. This caused a complete review of our finances at the yearend meeting in November. While Southern continues to have no creditors and a small cash reserve, we had to use our rainy day fund to finance a portion of the overall cost of running the league in 2011. The overall cost of participation at Southern has risen to over $320.00 per player for the 760 plus participants. This cost reflects all aspects of running Southern from field maintenance, utilities, uniforms and equipment, staffing needs, accident insurance, liability insurance, umpires, tournament expenses and all-star expenses as well as many other small expenses. I am happy to report that again in 2011 the overall administration cost to run Southern Little League was less than 4% of the overall budget and that is due to the fantastic volunteers that make up 98% of the staffing needs at Southern. A big thank you to all of the volunteers at Southern.

In 2006 Southern Little League raised the player fees to $110.00 with a $15.00 late signup fee. This was the first increase in over 6 years. Now in 2012 we have had to make the difficult decision to raise the fees to play at Southern Little League to $130.00 with a late fee of $15.00. Our plan for the league is to be able to sustain the fees at this rate for several years.

Fundraising covers 66% of the cost of playing at Southern. What many of you probably don’t know is that Southern operates a bingo fundraiser every Friday night at the Britteny Bingo Hall. That bingo has provided Southern with a steady source of income for several years. With the opening of the Gun Lake Casino we have seen a 58% drop in revenues from bingo proceeds over the last year. Southern has always tried to be an inexpensive option for baseball and softball in the Southeast Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids areas and has succeeded at that for 58 years. Southern is committed to continuing that tradition by keeping the player fees much lower than the actual cost of $320.00.

One new way Southern is trying to make up for lost bingo revenue while maintaining reasonable player fees is with the new annual “The Season Kickoff Dinner and Fundraiser” This will be a very fun event and will raise much needed revenue for the League. This year’s event will be held at Thousand Oaks Country Club on Saturday, February 4th, thanks to the coordination from Steve Boender, Patti Malewitz and Wendi Moore. You will see a separate email blast in the next few days with all of the particular information for this event. This is an event that all parents and friends of Southern Little League can participate in to make it a huge success. PLEASE HELP SOUTHERN AND THE COMMITTEE BY ATTENDING THIS EVENT AND HAVING A GREAT TIME.


Best Wishes,
Bob Hams
Southern Little League