Y officials: $150,000 or contract needed to set up Ferriday branch

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 30, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – Without $150,000 or a contract promising that amount — or the Town of Ferriday contracting with the Y — the YMCA of Central Louisiana will not establish a branch in Ferriday, Y officials said Thursday. That amount, or $50,000 per year for the first three years the branch would be open, is how much it will take to hire a branch director and establish programs at the branch. That does not include the cost of furnishing utilities for any facilities the YMCA would use.

Such facilities could include the old Florida Street Gym — which the Concordia Parish School Board has leased to the town — or the former Ferriday Kindergarten Center — which the School Board has not yet leased.

Y&160;officials who met Thursday morning at Ferriday Town Hall with town and church officials to discuss opening a branch in Ferriday suggested different ways the money could be raised.

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One option would be to get one to three large businesses, nonprofits and/or local governmental bodies to sign a contract to pay the money.

One way to do that would be for Recreation District No. 1, which serves the area, to use some of the $73,000 in tax revenues it gets per year to help fund the YMCA.

Assistant District Attorney Ronnie McMillin has not issued a written legal opinion on whether the district can use the money for that purpose.

But according to a proposition voters approved in 1998 to pass the recreation tax, those proceeds can be used for &uot;acquiring, maintaining and operating recreational facilities in and for the district, including lands, buildings and equipment.&uot;

That could legally include funding of the YMCA, McMillin said later Thursday. But as Ferriday Town Attorney Anna Brakenridge said at the meeting, the &uot;rec district&uot; has not yet agreed to provide any funding.

Another option would be to raise the full $150,000 through fund-raising efforts and put it in a bank account to be used only for Y expenses.

&uot;I&160;can’t recommend to our board that we open a branch in Ferriday if we have just $50,000 up front and then we’ll see about the rest,&uot;&160;said attorney Lawrence Searcy, a board member of the YMCA of Central Louisiana.

But is another way to defray the cost – a contract between the YMCA and the Town of Ferriday.

Under Louisiana law, the town cannot simply donate money to the YMCA. However, the town can contract with the Y for the organization to run specific recreation programs for the town.

So at the end of Thursday’s meeting, Y officials agreed to compile a list of programs it proposes to run for the town and how much each one would cost to run.

It was decided that representatives of Thursday’s group will ask the Recreation District to pass a resolution to provide a specific amount of funds per year to the YMCA.

And Brother Todd Tucker of First United Pentecostal Church, which is handling much of the publicity for the YMCA effort, pledged to get members of the town’s Ministerial Alliance together to see how much their churches would be willing to pledge.

Others who attended Thursday’s meeting were Rodney Martin, director of the Alexandria-based YMCA of Central Louisiana; Alex Promise, the town’s administrative assistant; and Councilman Sammy Davis Jr.

The group scheduled a follow-up meeting for 9 a.m. on Dec. 15 at Town Hall.