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Mayor Loyola's MYSO Update

Residents of Marion,

Once again, I find myself needing to clarify information regarding an organization with which the city currently has an agreement. In recent days, I have become aware of various false and damaging statements circulating within our community.  These unfounded rumors have potential to harm our collective trust, disrupt our progress, and tarnish the reputation of individuals and employees who are dedicated to serving our city.  This explanation will be lengthy, but I hope it will provide insight into my perspective on this issue.

First and foremost, I want to clarify that MYSO's decision to leave was entirely their own. The attached document is the agreement the city has with MYSO, and I urge you to note when it originally expired. There is no sports complex planned for Marion, nor was that ever my intention. If there is an agreement, we must follow it precisely and I think we can all agree on that. As I recall, one council member questioned whether we would enforce the agreement, suggesting there were more pressing issues. My response was that if we don’t uphold the agreement, we risk the city being liable and uncovered.

I fully support renting out city fields. However, MYSO or any other Marion organization would not lose priority nor one would be higher on the totem pole, they will treated equally. Mr. White mentioned that his organization uses these fields for four months annually for baseball and softball. After these four months, my idea was to rent the fields to outside organizations or residents. It is true that select teams, which play year-round, would pay to practice on the fields. Those teams carry insurance.  This revenue could be used to maintain the parks and recreation facilities year round not just the athletic fields. Marion-based teams would have priority and likely receive a discounted rate. Interestingly, MYSO itself has a select team run by Bryon Grimm. One council member doubted significant revenue would come in, so let's do the math.

Renting to outside organizations (most teams practice twice a week):

  • $40 per hour (minimum 2 hours)
  • $80 per session x 2 days = $160 per week
  • $160 per week x 4 weeks = $640 per month
  • $640 per month x 6 months = $3,840 for six months

This example is for one team, and the average cost to rent fields in the area is $35-40 per hour. Imagine if we could rent to two or three teams. This is just the start and can improve over time. The goal is to make yearly improvements to the field.  The City of LaVernia has a great plan that we as the city could follow.  This could be a start and the plan will always require some work since it is not perfect. 

Below is a timeline to provide perspective. Refer to the agreement for specific sections:

  • Section 1.2 - MYSO Agreement dates: March 4, 2020 – March 3, 2023. In January 2024, MYSO was notified that their agreement had expired.
  • March 4, 2023, to February 2024, MYSO used the city fields without an agreement, leaving the city liable for any incidents.
  • Sworn in as Mayor: November 20, 2023
  • January 8, 2024: Requested MYSO to submit required financials (Section 3.1) per their agreement. No records were provided until requested. Previous members had provided financial records up until Mr. White took over. Only a few bank statements and documents were received, not for every year of the agreement.
  • January 8, 2024: Mr. White asked for a copy of the agreement to ensure all required documents were provided, which was surprising since he runs the organization.
  • February 2024: City Council amended the expired agreement, allowing MYSO to use it until August 2024, by which time a new agreement would be in place.
  • January/February 2024 meetings: Mr. White claimed he spent thousands on the fields but provided no proof. Alderman Maberry asked him to submit documentation, but nothing was turned in. Approval from the city for maintenance (Section 2.3) was also not shown.  See tax returns pg 18, $4,025 spent for field maintenance
  • February 2024: MYSO announced major field improvements on social media without city approval (Section 2.3). Mr. White mentioned $25,000 spent on fields during the opening ceremony, again without city approval, resulting in issues like a tripping hazard from an unapproved drainage pipe, which the city had to go back and redo. 

Mr. White has repeatedly stated that he is hesitant to invest heavily in the fields because the city can always reclaim them. This reminds me of a tenant renting a home—they are unlikely to invest fully in the property because it doesn’t belong to them. They might do minor touch-ups and maintenance, but they won’t undertake major projects like replacing the roof or carpet, knowing the owner can ask them to leave at any time, but there is a difference the tenant does pay the landlord to use their home.  I completely understand that perspective. This is where the city can step in, using the revenue generated to fund major projects and apply for grants to improve the fields and not having MYSO raise their prices for registration.

City approval is needed for tracking purposes so that the city knows what has been completed or how it was completed.  Was it completed correctly?  Does it require an inspection?  If things were buried where were they buried and does it meet state and local guidelines for digging?  It’s not for the city just have control the city needs to know what is happening on tax payers property. 

The Lion’s field has been neglected, despite having all necessary amenities. Why has it not been maintained equally?  Why aren’t we playing games on those fields?  The park that is going to be worked on is right across the Lion’s field and no the parks grant cannot be used for any of the athletic fields it was not in the approved application. 

Additionally, advertisement signs on the athletic field fences were never approved by the city (Section 5.1). There have also been reports of alcohol consumption by certain coaches during practice (Section 5.2), which I addressed with Mr. White in June 2023. Utility payments for Lion’s field, covered by taxpayers for years, were only reconciled after I personally checked meters. MYSO charges a "maintenance fee" for field use by other organizations (Section 8.1), yet pays the city nothing to use the fields.

Historically, fields were built under MYO on city property based on handshake deals, which have caused multiple issues. Why does Marion not charge organizations to use city fields, unlike other cities? Why does Marion always give in to organizations that don't pay? If the city is always broke, why not break the cycle and try something new? Let's change it. The city council is responsible for agreement decisions, and it was brought to a vote in January and February but tabled it, now there is a lack of quorum. MYSO should never have let their agreement expire.

I have children in Marion organizations and have coached for both. I stepped away to avoid any appearance of bias. However, during Mr. White’s opening remarks, my children were approached by adults, influenced by Mr. White’s false statements. I was furious and disgusted that someone could say and do such a thing all because he wants full control of city fields.  I hope that your children Mr. White don’t have to go through what my children have gone through due to your carelessness.  I received an email from Mr. White regarding a family member but did not respond, recognizing it as bait. Agreements must be followed, regardless of personal opinions of MYSO.

MYSO parents may want to ask the following questions:

  • Who is on the MYSO Board?
  • When are the meetings?
  • Why are they not announced to the public?
  • Where are the meeting minutes published?
  • Are the financials available to the public?
  • Has the board reviewed the city agreement?
  • If so, why were violations not addressed by board members?
  • How does one become a board member?
  • When are board members elected?
  • Why are board members writing checks to themselves, regardless of legitimacy, without proper financial procedures?

Please have the same energy when asking MYSO questions, the same energy many had with me and putting me on blast.  Why do they get a free pass?  Why is the city always at fault for issues that arise in organizations?  Again, ask them why they let their agreement expire.  Ask them why they have not been following the agreement. 

I want to make this clear, I did not do anything illegal, immoral or unethical.  I did not force anyone out and I have not abused any authority.  The remaining council members have never stepped on the athletic fields or it has been years since they have been on those fields so not exactly sure how they know what is being followed and what is not. Why are those council members continuing to allow MYSO get away with not following the agreement with the city? A question that may be posed to the city is what happens in August?  If the city does not currently have a policy on use of the fields, one needs to be created.

Big Picture: The city maintains three athletic fields, two parks, and one walking trail. The Comprehensive Plan 2015-2025 outlines parks and recreation for Marion. We struggle to buy even basic items, like a basketball net. A grant is being pursued for the City Park, but with no revenue for parks and recreation, maintenance is challenging. Residents have requested park improvements, and plans are in the works. The city engineer is currently reviewing the park.

I do not engage in city business on social media. Official communication channels should be used. I have received three phone calls about the fields and I appreciate those that have taken the time to reach out and have a conversation about the issue.  Feel free to reach out to me via the contact information below, though there may be delays in response.

Thank you,

Daniel H. Loyola
Mayor 
830-557-2500 
Mayordanielhloyola@cityofmariontx.org

MYSO Agreement Available at City Hall 

Request for document to be emailed to you:  sgonzales@cityofmariontx.org  
(Revised 6-27-24) 


 

 

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