It's time to move along the conversation about the relationship of the city of Marysville and the Gold Sox. And the conversation shouldn't be about the contract — whether it's in effect or not in effect.

The conversation should be about how much the ballclub pays the city for use of the city-owned and city-maintained facility. Even more specifically, it should be about how much more the club is going to pay the city, because right now it's not enough.

In a small city trying to figure out how to continue paying for its police department, with not a dime in cash reserves left, and an expected budget shortfall of more than $400,000 ... there's no justification for subsidizing a private business.

And that is what's happening — the private business that is the Gold Sox organization is being supported out of city coffers. Regardless of how much we love having them here and how enjoyable a night at a game is, there's just no call for the city to be losing money on this deal. Not even a little.

Frankly, it looks like the contract in effect since 2003 and the real business of the relationship had been in an enduring fog. The recession was on, the city wanted a ballclub at the park, and the costs weren't watched like they might have been. The city probably should have been paying better attention and asking for annual increases.

If that's been the case, it's definitely time to let that fog roll away and pay attention to business on this deal. And so the city has stated its case.

Response from the ballclub strikes us as a bit glib — Bob Bavasi, a minority owner representing the team in talks with the city, simply insists the lease is in effect and talks with city manager Walter Munchheimer leave them scratching their heads in wonderment.

It seems likely to us it's less about them not understanding the city manager than it is about not liking what he says. Talks with city elected officials haven't had much impact, either. Ballclub reps talked earlier with the city's baseball committee, involving Mayor Ricky Samayoa and Councilman (and well-known Gold Sox fan) Jim Kitchen.

No luck.

As noted in a story on the issue by reporter Eric Vodden, the dispute surfaced last fall when Munchheimer told the City Council the collegiate wood-bat club failed to make a Sept. 30 notification required to keep the contract in force and allowing them to play at the stadium.

The notification schedule calls for the club to pay the city $40,000 a year — with the city to be paid 25 percent by Sept. 30, another 25 percent by Nov. 30, and the balance at the end of the season.

The schedule of deadlines of notifications and payments is important because the city would have to give notice it's raising the rates (costs currently are well over $50,000, it's reported).

As noted, the two sides are having a hard time talking business. The city brought up the issue the ballclub had let its contract expire; the ballclub said no, it hadn't; the city said it did; the ballclub said it didn't; the city said it doesn't matter that much, it's just that the rates need to go up; the ballclub said the contract is still in effect; the city said it's losing money and can't afford it ...

Fine. Nothing helps communication in a terse relationship like a judgment. It's probably time the city has its attorney take the contract matter to court, ask a judge to rule on whether the contract is currently in force, then, if the judge says it's not, they can padlock the gates until the issue is resolved.

We hope this is worked out amicably, and we urge both sides to give it one more honest go. But the clock is ticking.

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