Smyrna Town Council members voted against giving the Boys & Girls Club a donation at the June 16 meeting.
The donation proposal came at the suggestion of Councilman Robert Johnson, who wasn’t at the meeting.
Town Manager Dave Hugg said the town used to give the Smyrna/Clayton Boys & Girls Club donations each year; however, the donation was cut from the 2014 budget during the budgeting process last year. Hugg said the way the Boys & Girls Club funding cycle works is whatever is donated before the end of June will be matched by the state; therefore, if Smyrna donated $10,000 the community center would actually receive $20,000 total.
Even though it was noted the donation would benefit the community, several council members voiced opposition to the donation due to the town’s budgetary issues.
Councilwoman Valerie White said the town just raised taxes and while she wholeheartedly supports the Boys & Girls Club and other local organizations, the town can’t continue to donate given the town’s financial strains.
Mayor Joanne Masten agreed.
“Usually I never agree with Valerie but this time I do,” Masten said.
She pointed to Hugg’s earlier announcement that $200,000 was needed to address electrical issues in the Green Meadows development; the project wasn’t budgeted so Hugg said cuts would have to be made to fix the problem. Masten also said other organizations in town need money such as Little League, but the town isn’t donating money to them.
“I cannot consciously give them $10,000 when the Boys & Girls Club gets their fair share of money from the state and Kent County Levy Court,” Masten said.
Councilman Anthony DeFeo countered the arguments of Masten and White. DeFeo believes investing in the Boys & Girls Club could help keep children out of trouble years later down the road.
Councilwoman Andrea Rodriguez agreed stating the Boys & Girls Club helps more than just children but oftentimes single mothers who can take advantage of the programming at the community center.
DeFeo then pointed out that there is $3 million in the Rainy Day Fund if need be, but eventually the motion to donate $10,000 to the Boys & Girls Club was voted down 2-4. DeFeo and Rodriguez voted in favor while Masten, White, Councilman John Embert and Vice Mayor Regina Brown voted no.
2013 audit report tabled
Smyrna Council tabled the discussion and vote on the Fiscal Year 2013 audit report. There was supposed to be a presentation on the audit at the meeting; however, the person expected to give the audit presentation didn’t show up at the meeting.
A Special Smyrna Council meeting will be on Wednesday, June 25 at 7 p.m. in council chambers for the specific purpose of holding the presentation and then voting on the audit report.
Warlock Brewing update
Hugg said the town has been working with Warlock Brewing in reference to the conditional use approval and putting together a lease for a property in the Smyrna Business Park.
The Planning & Zoning Commission approved the conditional use application Monday night. Now there will be a public hearing on the application at the Monday, July 7 Smyrna Town Council meeting.