Posted on

YMCA pleased with $30,000 from council

Following the lead of the Harrison County Board of Commissioners, the Harrison County Council unanimously voted to support the YMCA of Harrison County with big bucks.
But the council did not follow exactly in the footsteps of the commissioners. The commissioners had recommended $75,000, but the council approved only $30,000 from the Economic Development account of riverboat funds.
Board of Commissioners President Terry Miller presented the Y’s case to the council, reiterating that the Y had the unanimous support of the commissioners.
Council member Rhonda Rhoads was the first to begin with her questions, addressing lawyer John Evans, who represented the Y. Rhoads ended her questions by saying, “I’ve been very impressed with how organized you have been.”
Council President Gary Davis told the crowd at the meeting (which had earlier been standing room only) that he and councilmen Alvin Brown and Carl Duley had visited the recently constructed Scott County YMCA to see how it worked.
Duley, who noted that he had no previous experience with a YMCA, explained that fund-raising had taken much longer in Scott County than it has in Harrison County. Duley also noted that one big community benefit of the Scott County Y is a therapeutic pool, designed for disabled and elderly people.
“I was very impressed to see what they do,” Duley said. “I was glad I made the trip.”
This was also echoed by Alvin Brown and Gary Davis. Davis said, “I was impressed that it wasn’t an elaborate building.”
Rhoads made the motion to support the YMCA in the amount of $30,000, notably $45,000 less than the amount recommended by the commissioners. The motion was seconded by Ralph Sherman.
In making the motion, Rhoads asked YMCA supporters, “That is enough to meet your goal?” The Y had a fund-raising goal of $300,000, which the Harrison County Community Foundation will match dollar-for-dollar.
Catherine Turcotte, president of the YMCA board, quickly said, “Yes. We would be very pleased to get $30,000.”
Before the council voted, YMCA board member Ty Adams said, “It is most important, more important than the amount, to get a unanimous approval from the council.”
Adams explained that as they go to private organizations, such as the Lilly Foundation and the Paul Ogle Foundation, to seek grant funding, it is crucial to show that the project has the complete support of the county.
“A split council could hurt chances of other grant funding,” Adams said.
The council voted was 5-0 to fund the $30,000, but President Gary Davis also raised his hand in the vote saying, “You don’t need my vote, but you certainly have my approval.” (As president, Davis only votes when there is a tie among the other six members of the council. Councilman Kenneth Saulman was not present Monday night.)
Voices from the Y supporters in the audience chimed in at this point, thanking the council members for their generosity, and proponents clapped in delight with the decision.
In its original request before the commissioners, the Y sought $100,000. The group later lowered the request to $30,000, but the commissioners exceeded that by recommending $75,000. The lower request explains both why the county council chose to fund at that level and why the YMCA supporters were extremely pleased: The YMCA received what it asked for.
Duley said that after the initial $100,000 request the YMCA sent a letter to all council members. It asked them for $30,000 because that was the amount they needed to meet their goal, and, Duley believes, more likely to receive unanimous support from the council, as it did. “It would look a lot better in the proposal to (grant organizations) if all the county officials voted unanimously.
“If they had needed more, we probably would have funded it.”
Rhoads said $30,000 was the amount of a donation made by Metro United Way that was not eligible for matching funds from the Harrison County Community Foundation, so the council gave them that amount “so they could be matched.”
The completion of the $300,000 goal for operating expenses ensures that a capital campaign for the YMCA building will begin in the next year.