Council Again Denies Funding for Personal Development Center

Funding Consideration Denied After Amendment Made

At the April 10 Common Council meeting, Mayor Chris Meyer presented agenda item “T”: “Consideration to rescind action on March 27, 2018 pertaining to allocating funding to the Personal Development Center.” (Full agenda here.)

At the March 27 meeting, Council voted to deny funding to PDC. (Read more about that decision here.) The decision was made largely due to human services being a County responsibility and because the requested $80,000 would have drained the City’s contingency fund. (PDC has since secured alternative funding for the project.)

Before beginning a new discussion on the topic, and because it had previously been discussed, Council first needed to vote whether to reopen the discussion.

“The question is whether we rescind the action,” said Mayor Chris Meyer. Rescinding would send the discussion back to square one, and the Council would be faced with the decision of whether to allocate $80,000 to PDC.

Council tied with a 5-5 vote to rescind the actions of the previous Council meeting, and essentially re-open discussion. Meyer, having tie-breaking power as mayor, broke the tie in favor of rescinding, thus reopening discussion.

“I think this is something that is important for our community. We take advantage of this organization, we depend on them,” said Meyer. “This is one of those moral things to me that we make sure we cover all the bases.”

Next, Alderman Chris Jockheck made a motion to allocate the previously requested $80,000 to PDC, which was seconded by Alderman Mike Feirer.

Meyer suggested that, if the Council were to vote “yes,” they should also consider an amendment that would direct staff to research where the $80,000 could potentially come from. He also suggested a model in which the City purchases the land, and then leases it back to the nonprofit.

“If we make a donation to them, we are giving them money. What that money is for is the purchase of the ground,” explained Meyer. “The current funding sources for PDC is for services. They can’t use that to purchase facilities.”

Meyer suggested that it would be possible for the City donate the land and lease it to PDC, as has been done in other models. This would mean the City would keep the land, have access to the land, and have a say in the future of that land.

Alderman Jockheck suggested waiting until budget time to discuss where the funding could potentially come from.

PDC is scheduled to host a fundraiser soon to pay for the land (which was purchased through a loan). Alderman Earll suggested PDC host their planned fundraiser and see how much they raise. A year from now, Council could then reconsider whether the organization needed help.

Alderman Wagner suggested the City match fundraising dollars raised.

“During the fundraising drive, offer to match the funds they raised subject to some sort of audit, dollar for dollar up to $40,000 and the offer will expire one year from now,” said Wagner.

Alderman Feirer noted that Council would have to allocate the funds before budget time in the event that PDC need the funding.

At this point in the meeting, a motion to donate $80,000 and an amendment to match funds up to $40,000 were on the floor.

First was the vote on the motion to amend.

“If you vote yes right now, you vote to change the motion to $40,000 in matching funds. If you vote no, you are voting to go back to the $80,000,” said Meyer.

The motion tied 5-5. Poeschel, Zaleski, Spiros, Buttke, and Hendler voted no. Feirer, Jockheck, Earll, Wagner, and Witzel voted yes. Meyer again broke the tie with a yes vote.

Meyer acknowledged that the $80,000 was a significant amount of money for Council to consider and he understood why five members voted no.

“I disagree, but I do respect it,” he said. “$40,000 tied to goals seems like a reasonable request.”

The final motion, as amended, was to allocate up to $40,000 in matching funds, dollar-for-dollar, for PDC. The organization would have one year from April 10 to generate $40,000, which the City would then match.

There was no further discussion.

A yes vote would allocate up to $40,000 matching funds to PDC. A no vote would not.

Feirer, Jockheck, and Wagner voted “yes”.

Poeschel, Earll, Witzel, Zaleski, Spiros, Buttke, and Hendler voted “no.”

The motion failed.

Stay tuned to FOCUS for more local government coverage. If you’d like to learn more about PDC, visit their website here.

Watch local government meetings on MCTV, Charter Channel 991, or online here.

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