Broke Healdsburg soccer league asks City Hall for help

The Healdsburg Youth Soccer League, broke and reeling from a potential misappropriation of funds by its former president, is looking for help from the city.

The league president plans to ask the City Council tonight to waive the fees that Healdsburg charges the organization for the use of city soccer fields.

At $20 per player for the season, that amounts to $5,400 for the 270 players, said league president Aziz Zhari.

But council members contacted Friday were cool to the idea.

"Given that the city has chopped all kinds of other projects and programs because of the tight budget, I can't conceive where we will find the funding," said Councilman Eric Ziedrich.

He said he is open to hearing the request and getting more analysis from city staff, but is skeptical that fees can be waived.

"If you use parks and fields, there's an impact on the parks and you somehow have to find funding to maintain and repair parks," he said.

Mayor Jim Wood said the council probably would not act on the request tonight, but put it on the agenda for the Oct. 4 meeting. "It's a very difficult question," he said.

"I hate it when kids suffer through no fault of their own. The kids are the ones who are paying for it. It's really unfortunate," he said.

Wood added that he would like to be in a position to do something to help the league. "I don't know where (money) would come from and how we do it. I have to see what the other council members say," he said.

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