The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix LOG 

Council restore funds for Boys & Girls Club, Senior Center

 

October 26, 2017 | View PDF



One of David Squires’ first announcements as the new mayor of Seward received heartfelt applause from a standing-room-only crowd at the Seward City Council meeting on Monday, October 23. And a sigh of relief from Seward Boys & Girls Club officials.

In releasing a tentative draft of the city’s biennial budget during a public hearing, Squires said the city would restore funding to the organization.

Seward Boys & Girls Club Director Maggie Wilkins expressed her appreciation for the council’s decision to eliminate a $10,000 cut in funding under the proposed budget. The funds, she said, would help the Seward Boys & Girls Club to continue to serve families and children in the community.

Faced with a budget shortfall, city council members had originally drafted a budget that reduced the city’s financial support of the club to $15,000 for 2018 and 2019.

The funds would help the Seward Boys & Girls Club endure funding reductions from other sources, Wilkins said. The club is facing a loss of support at the state and local level, she said. The Kenai Peninsula United Way will be dissolving in June 2018, Wilkins noted, meaning the Boys & Girls Club will lose about $44,000, as well as a two-year grant from Providence. The organization, part of the Boys & Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula, has approximately 100 registered members and serves an average of 45 youths per day, offering after-school care and help with academic studies for students at Seward Elementary School.

Without the restored funds, many of the youths the organization serves could be at home unsupervised during after-school hours, Wilkins said.

“This is a classic example of how a little money can make a huge impact on the community,” said Christy Terry, who works with the Seward Boys & Girls Club.

Linda Bitts, who was attending the meeting to address concerns with her rising electrical utility costs, said the council’s move to restore the financial funding to the club was appropriate and a sound investment in the future.

“It seems to me that $10,000 when they are little, to make sure they are fed and cared for after school, is a really cost-effective way to avoid spending a lot of money later when they are juvenile delinquents.”

In addition to restoring funding to the Seward Boys & Girls Club, the council also voted to scrap a planned $10,000 cut to the Seward Senior Center. The move will keep the city’s support for the facility at $75,000 per year.

Members of the city council will hold another public hearing in relation to the proposed budget in November.

 

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