If field lights are on, they are being paid for

However, Parks & Recreation Director Steve Pierce says when the lights are on, they are always being paid for by an outside source. Often, an empty stadium reflects an organization that reserved, and paid, for the right to use the field — and then didn’t show up.

In order to ensure the cost of lighting the fields is always covered, the town uses a Musco Lighting computer system that allows for remote scheduling of lights at both the high school fields and Kristine Lilly Field.

Before a reservation for an outside, for-profit organization goes on that schedule, the organization is required to sign a contract with the town and pay for the field use and lights up front, Mr. Pierce said. In-town organizations like Wilton Youth Lacrosse schedule their time after high school teams have reserved their time, and are billed for the lights on a post-facto, seasonal basis.

High school teams have priority in reserving field time before in-town youth teams and nonprofits. Outside organizations may only reserve field time left over from those two groups of users, Mr. Pierce said.

However, both in-town and outside teams risk being “bumped” by a high school team at any time.

If an outside organization or an in-town team fails to use the field during their reserved time they are still charged for its use, Mr. Pierce said.

For outside organizations, the parks department charges $250 for up to a full day of field time, and $20 per hour of light use. In-town organizations do not incur the $250 field use fee, but pay $20 per hour of light use.

The department conducts an annual survey of lighting costs with help from Musco Lighting, Mr. Pierce said, to ensure that fees properly cover energy costs.

“We just checked our CL&P bills with Musco Lighting, and found that our fees just cover our costs,” Mr. Pierce said. He added that the town does not make a profit from the fees.