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City Council to tackle contracts for sports teams

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It will be a three-sport night Tuesday for the Watertown City Council.

Council members are expected to wrap up the agreements with the three main sports teams that use the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds: the Thousand Islands Privateers minor league hockey team, the Watertown Rams collegiate baseball team, and the Red and Black minor league football team.

It’s the first time the council will consider all three agreements on the same night.

The Privateers are playing their first season at the fairgrounds after moving from the Bonnie Castle Recreation Center, Alexandria Bay.

Elliott B. Nelson, assistant to the city manager, worked on the agreements with Parks and Recreation Superintendent Erin E. Gardner.

“There is a lot of consistency to make them equal, and it made sense to do them all at once,” Mr. Elliott said.

All three teams came to the city about the same time to pursue new agreements, Mrs. Gardner said. Rams co-owner Todd Kirkey said Friday that he believes the council will act on the agreement Tuesday, despite the team’s sometimes rocky relationship with the city.

“I don’t see a problem,” he said. “I think it’ll be good.”

There are just a few changes in all three agreements. The biggest involves when the teams would have to pay the city.

As the Privateers have been doing since last fall, the Rams (formerly the Wizards) and the Red and Black would have to pay before their respective seasons to use the facilities, Mrs. Gardner said. The flat fees for field use and rental space would increase for the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League franchise and the football team. Ice time for the Privateers would go up from $70 an hour to $80.

The Rams also would pay a flat fee of $3,000 for advertising at the ballfield. Under the previous agreement, the baseball team paid for each sign installed, making it difficult for the Parks and Recreation staff to administer, according to a memo to council members from Mr. Nelson.

The city would receive all food concessions, while the three teams would receive revenues for alcohol sales.

The City Council spent much of 2011 sorting out the way the Parks Department handled financial matters after council members learned the department failed to collect tens of thousands of dollars over the years in unpaid bills from its users.

The council will meet Tuesday because City Hall, 245 Washington St., is closed today for Martin Luther King Day. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the third-floor council chambers.

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