County commissioners have pitched in $5,000 to send the Debs to the softball world series, with Commissioners Pinki Jackel and Cheryl Sanders traveling to the games to cheer them on.


County commissioners have pitched in $5,000 to send the Debs to the softball world series, with Commissioners Pinki Jackel and Cheryl Sanders traveling to the games to cheer them on.



Sanders opened Tuesday morning’s meeting singing the praises of the Debs and Franklin County Parks and Recreation. “(This is) a huge economic engine for the county. I’m so proud of Franklin County,” she said. “All the teams did awesome.”



Jackel concurred. “I got to present the trophy and that kind of gave me thrills,” said Jackel. “It’s one of the most exciting things I’ve gotten to participate in since taking office.”



Jackel and Sanders will be joining the Debs in Virginia at the county’s expense.



At Tuesday’s meeting, Sanders asked the county to fund the cost of her and Jackel, the commission chairman, to accompany the team, “because we’re the girls on the commission.”



The commission voted unanimously to do so.



Jackel said the trip would conflict with the regularly scheduled Aug. 7 county meeting, so that date was moved up to Wednesday, Aug. 1. County Planner Alan Pierce said the change will be advertised in the Times.



Clerk of Courts Marcia Johnson said following the meeting that she was uncertain of the cost of sending two commissioners to Virginia for a week.



Sanders called on new Director of Parks and Recreation Nikki Millender to recap the tournament. Following her account, Sanders moved to present the Debs with $5,000 to help with travel expenses. The motion passed unanimously.



“That is a down payment,” said Jackel. “That will not cover the trip. The girls are going to have to do fundraisers.”



Millender said the trip will cost around $15,400. She told commissioners the girls will travel to Powahatan, Va. on Aug. 3 and will return sometime between August 7 and 10, depending on their performance in the tourney.



During her presentation, Millender announced that the county has been asked to host the World Series for Angels and Ponytails X Play, next year. X-Play is a newly introduced format that allows players in this age group to steal bases, among other rule variations.



Sanders said Florida has never had a World Series event.



Millender said she would discuss financial considerations concerning the proposed event with commissioners. With budget constraints growing in the county, cost is sure to be a consideration.



Johnson said the county spent over $30,000 on the 2011 Dixie Softball Florida State Tournament. She said the cost of overtime for the tournament last year, $15,435, is included in that total.



The tab for this year’s tournament is already more than $33,000, including $2,500 to decorate for the kick-off dinner. Other line items include $1,100 for cooling bandanas, $1,500 for portable mist fans and $5,730 paid to Danny Brooks, state director of Dixie Softball.



Final cost of this year’s tourney will likely be higher than $33,000 since overtime for county employees is not included in the current figure, and more bills are now coming in. Johnson estimated that overtime costs this year could be more than in 2011, since more county employees worked at the games.



The Tourist Development Council provided $15,342 for the event; the remainder of the tab will be picked up by the county.



Johnson said she suggested to county commissioners late last year that the county recoup some of the tourney’s cost by asking for a portion of the admission fees or concession sales. Currently. all of that money is divided equally among the Apalachicola, Carrabelle and Eastpoint leagues.