YMCA, town may have funding deal

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 19, 2001

FERRIDAY – A cooperative agreement between YMCA&160;organizers and the town of Ferriday could resolve funding concerns.

According to an attorney general’s opinion, Ferriday cannot donate public funds to open a YMCA unless funds would be used only for programs for the needy – and then, only if &uot;needy&uot; is objectively defined.

So Ferriday officials plan to work with members of a committee working to establish a YMCA to draw up a cooperative agreement between the town and the YMCA committee.

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Under such an agreement, the town could help fund specific programs – although which programs those would be remains undetermined.

&uot;We’re waiting until the town attorney&160;(Anna Brakenridge) gets back to start working on a cooperative agreement,&uot; Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin said Friday.

McGlothin did not give a specific dollar amount the town would allocate for the effort.

Alex Promise, the town’s administrative assistant and chairman of the YMCA steering committee, said Friday that he still hopes the town will pledge $75,000 – $25,000 a year for the YMCA branch’s first three years.

But when Promise requested $75,000 at a Ferriday Town Council meeting earlier this year, McGlothin pointed out that the town is strapped for cash due to the theft of more than $147,000 by two former clerks and the rising cost of utilities, fuel and chemicals.

In order to establish a branch, the YMCA needs to make sure $150,000 will be available to run it for the first three years.

The board of Recreation District No. 1 has already pledged to contribute $75,000 from a recreation tax voters passed in 1998 – provided that the remaining $75,000 is raised from other sources.

Promise said in a recent meeting of the YMCA of Concordia/Catahoula Steering Committee that the group hopes to raise the money by the end of August.

Town officials have also agreed to allow the YMCA to use the former Florida Street Gym for its basketball programs as well as arts and crafts and other activities. Previously, the Boys and Girls Club of the Delta was to be given use of the gym, but that club’s board recently voted to disband.