The Baker County Commission agreed to spend money that wasn’t budgeted for recreational improvements after publicly acknowledging that some of the old bleachers at the Knabb Sports Complex fields in north Macclenny had deteriorated to the point of being dangerous.
Commissioners approved County Manager C.J. Thompson’s recommendation to spend $18,194 to repair or replace most of the wooden bleachers after expressing concerns for public safety at the ball fields.
Commissioner James Croft, who was elected in November, cast the only dissenting vote, saying this was the first time he had heard of any safety issues with the bleachers. He said the time to discuss expenditures for repairs was before the 2012-13 budget went into effect on October 1.
“I doubt very seriously that those bleachers got that way since October 1,” Mr. Croft said, adding that mid-year is not the time to increase expenditures in a deficit budget that was only balanced last year after an infusion of about $1.6 million in reserve funds.
“I’m not anti-Little League and not anti-safety, and I’m not anti-youth,” he said. “But this board has got to face reality. We are on a down-hill pull.”