For those of you who missed it, the following is a newspaper report on a special meeting of the Shelbyville Common Council. At the meeting, council members united behind a proposed resolution to outline a process for dealing with social agencies and nonprofits that want to receive grants from the city's racino revenue. The council plans to take up the resolution at its next meeting on June 7.
To Help Nonprofits, City Allots More Racino Money
Finding a fair and consistent way to use racino money to answer some of the community's most pressing and immediate social agency needs was on the agenda during a special meeting of the Shelbyville Common Council on Wednesday evening.
According to Council member Kim Owens, city officials discussed and made significant progress toward crafting a resolution outlining the process by which social service agencies, organizations and nonprofits can go about applying for a portion of those revenues.
"The Blue River (Community) Foundation can only mete out the interest on an endowment, so it will take several years before there is significant money there to allocate as grant money," Owens said. "We've come up with a five-year plan to answer some of the more immediate needs of the community while the interest on that endowment grows."
Owens explained that 5 percent of the city's racino revenues will go into a reserve fund. The first year, $25,000 of that will be set aside for grant money, then another $35,000 each year for the next four years. The foundation will then form a committee and use its expertise to establish guidelines to assist the city in allocating the money properly.
"The community wins here," Council member Jeff Sponsel said. "There are those who think that racino money represents an unlimited source of funding, and it just isn't true. We on the council all agree that the need is out there in the community. You can never give enough to help our local nonprofit organizations. But our job on the council is to protect city taxpayers and the fiscal health of the city, and I'm confident that's what we've done here with this resolution."
Council member David Phares was upbeat about the proposed council resolution. He agreed with Sponsel that there is never enough grant money available for the many social service agencies in the community.
"I believe this resolution will have to be tweaked a bit later on, but right now, I feel this is a good starting point," Phares said.
The council decided several months ago on the percentage of racino allocation, with 60 percent going to economic development; 15 percent for economic redevelopment and capital projects; 7-1/2 percent for city streets; 7-1/2 percent for the purchase of non-emergency vehicles; 5 percent for the Blue River Community Foundation endowment; and the remaining 5 percent to be used as a reserve fund.
"The council will take up this resolution at our next meeting on June 7, but I believe we've reached a consensus," Sponsel said. "The five-year plan should provide grant money to help some people in our community until the interest on the endowment grows. We definitely plan to use the foundation's expertise and follow their recommendations."
(Article by Ron Hamilton 5/28/10 Content Copyright The Shelbyville News)
localresident wrote on May 28, 2010:
"I believe we should have free internet wi-fi available to everyone. It will benefit all residents in every economic level, businesses, and visitors. Columbus and many other cities have this available."
Help wrote on May 28, 2010:
"Is this really enough to help the community in any meaningful way? What are the priorities for this Council? They are taking in millions in gambling taxes but have little or nothing available to support the nonprofit service sector. I hope Councilman Sponsel didn't break his arm patting himself on the back after this was done."
Moose wrote on May 28, 2010:
"They should give 40 percent of that racino money to local charities. We have tremendous need in this city and county now and the local politicians don't seem to realize it. Or, maybe they do realize it and just don't give a rat's behind. The City Council should invite the director of the local Human Services office and the Salvation Army to talk to them for an hour or so about how bad it is here."
Duh wrote on May 28, 2010:
"It is absurd that the Council receives more than $2.5 million per year in racino funds and is only setting aside $25K for local non-profits!!! What a joke!!!"
In the Name of Jesus wrote on May 29, 2010
"It's amazing to me how insensitive mayor Scotty and company are to the needs of the terribly struggling families and senior citizens in this city. Get a heart for God's sake! People are suffering. People are homeless. People don't have food."
Chet Jenkins wrote on May 30, 2010
"Its just like winning the lottery. Everyone is beating down your door for free money. The council is being reasonable with the money. Something for nothing and then it more, more , more. Whatever they give is never good enough.Did you ever stop to consider maybe the money is being used to keep the city going when other cities are laying off and doing without."
Posted: Thursday, June 10, 2010
Article comment by:
apparently there is a state law that forbids local governments from spending racino funds to offset current budgets or budget increases. so the council could not use this money to offset the announced sewage increase or help the parks department with the 2 million loan for blue river park or even help the schools with their tight budgets. the council couldn't even use the money to offset the expense of hiring 5 new police officers. but giving most of this money to the SCDC (the people who roped us into the intelliplex) doesn t seem right.
Posted: Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Article comment by:
It is amazing to me that our local newspaper has never asked our local officials to explain what they mean specifically when they talk about spending all of these millions of dollars for economic development.
I quit subscribing to the newspaper a long time ago and it is because the newspaper does not want to do its job to serve the local public's best interests.