Organizations apply for grants from the city out of this fund each year and last year the Summer Games received $29,000.
Councilmember Paul Cozzens said he did not think the council should pick and choose on what to spend tax payer money, and therefore did not support the fund, but because organizations have already counted on it for it this year he would support it this year and not in the future. This sentiment received an echo of approval from councilmember John Black.
However, Cozzens said he would support choosing to continue to spend money on the Summer Games each year.
“The return on investment is huge and I want to make sure we support it,” he said.
He asked if the city could use money to support it through Recreation Arts and Parks Tax money voted on by citizens.
City Attorney Paul Bittmen said it would require a change in the ordinance to allow that, but that change would alter the purpose and guidelines of the RAP tax on which people voted to have the money allotted. RAP tax was approved by voters to improve the recreational facilities and opportunities in the city.
Mayor Joe Burgess also said the RAP Tax is not dependable as it will expire and could cease to exist if not reapproved by voters. He suggested they add it as a line item to the budget.
Cozzens said that it may be best to have the Summer Games added as a line item to the budget, however that would not be decided until next year.
In the meantime the budget of $54,000 will remain intact for that account in the Community Promotions fund, the applicants for which will be decided on this fall. The future of this fund and the programs and events it supports will rely on the council’s will and the community’s input in the future.