Rec board seeks opinion on using taxes for YMCA

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 18, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – Can tax money be used to fund a YMCA? That’s the question members of the the Recreation District No. 1 Board want the District Attorney’s Office to answer.

Alex Promise, assistant town clerk, said the 3-mill tax passed by voters should generate $73,000 per year, with $40,000 of that revenue available to fund a planned YMCA program.

Ferriday is trying to organize a Y branch, which would be located in the former Ferriday Kindergarten Center on Louisiana 15.

Email newsletter signup

But, before recreation district board members agree to spend the money on a program which would be housed in a facility the district doesn’t own, they want to make sure they can legally do so.

&uot;We’ve got to cross this hurdle first,&uot; said board member James Skipper, referring to the request for a district attorney’s opinion, &uot;but I’m in favor for pursuing this, and other board members seem to be interested in it, too.&uot;

Once the District Attorney’s opinion has been received, the board will hold a special meeting to discuss the opinion. It also expected to hold further discussion on a agreement by which the town, the YMCA and the recreation board would work closely on recreation programs for the area.

&uot;We haven’t decided anything yet. We’ve still got to look at the pros and cons&uot; of the proposal, said board member Jerry Cook, who had no further comment.

Establishing a Y branch takes raising $50,000 to $75,000 a year for the three years it takes a fledgling YMCA branch to grow, according to Y officials. Revenue from this tax could offset those expenses, as could a cooperative agreement.

Promise said he was encouraged by the board’s interest the YMCA agreement. The YMCA &uot;would provide children with the type of recreation that is badly needed in this area,&uot;&160;he said.

&uot;The YMCA has good programs for youth and adults,&uot; said member David Turner. &uot;It would be good for the whole community.&uot;

The remaining costs of the YMCA branch’s expenses could be covered through memberships and donations from local businesses, nonprofits and other groups and individuals. Funds would be used to hire a director and staff and operate the building and Y programs.

A local YMCA steering committee will also solicit donations from local nonprofits and churches to subsidize program fees for youth who could not afford to take part otherwise, according to Promise.

Other recreation board members, including Chairperson Delores Thomas, could not be reached for comment Friday.