Negative Motion Passes to Deny Personal Development Center Funding.
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Tonight Common Council heard from Renee Schulz, Executive Director of the Personal Development Center (PDC), a request to consider a one-time donation (2018) of $80,000 for the re-purposing of the transitional shelter with a $20,000 annual allocation (beginning 2019) to support safe housing for victims in our community.
St. Vincent DePaul (SVDP) Family Shelter closed on December 5, 2017 and at this time is sitting vacant. PDC has been working closely with the SVDP Board of Directors to acquire the facility for expanded domestic violence services, including temporary safe housing for victims and their children. This new venture will provide increased safety as well as comprehensive and accessible programming to promote healing, empowerment, and resiliency to move beyond the trauma of abuse to a safe, healthy, and productive future.
The facility location and layout are ideal for PDC, with minimal necessary improvements for PDC specific programming (i.e. controlled internal access points, increased security, etc.); however, additional funding is needed to bring this venture to fruition. Costs include $80,000 to acquire the facility; approximately $150,000 for building modifications/moving expenses/added security; and approximately $150,000 annually to provide shelter staff and 24-hour coverage.
Alderman Hendler made the first motion to postpone considerations to the next council meeting in April, due to this being a sensitive issue and to allow for the elections to take place. Candidate for Mayor and Alderman Tom Witzel made a second. Alderman Witzel said, “Generally these type of issues are handled at the county level.”
Renee commented that they are on a very tight timeline and their current building is already leased. They need to be moved into the transitional shelter by May 1st and are looking to close on the property this Thursday.
Alderman Buttke said “I want to do this so bad, but I can’t. Great idea, I so much want to help the people. But again the list is going to be so long for the people coming to us.”
Alderman Zaleski echoed Buttke’s comment and added, “There is a list of things within the city that we have crossed off the list, because of funding or lack of funding during the past few months, and that weighs heavy on me.”
In further discussion Mayor Meyer asked for consideration from the council after handing over the chair to Common Council President Wagner. The motion failed 3 – 6, after only gaining additional support from Alderman Earll.
A second motion was brought forward by Alderman Wagner after Mayor Meyer resumed chair. The motion to fund the one-time donation of $80,000 failed due to lack of a second. In previous discussion the City Administrator informed the Council that the funding would have to come out of contingency. This would exhaust the contingency fund after the additional funding resolutions that were passed this evening.
A third motion was brought forward by Buttke to deny funding, seconded by Spiros. The negative motion passed.
Mayor Chris Meyer thanked Renee after the vote for coming and spoke directly to the member of the Common Council. The Mayor said “In ten years that I have never been this disappointed in a Common Council for completely failing to stand up to the requirements that they have in front of them. You are a governing body for a community that put money forward to build this facility and tonight you took the chicken way out, and I am disappointed.”
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OnFocus has asked for comment from each member of Common Council. This will be updated live as they provide comment.
|1st||Michael J. Feirer||– No Comment At This Time –|
|2nd||Nick Poeschel||– No Comment At This Time –|
|3rd||Chris Jockheck||– No Comment At This Time –|
|4th||Gordon H. Earll||– No Comment At This Time –|
|5th||Ed Wagner||– No Comment At This Time –|
|9th||Tom Buttke||– No Comment At This Time –|
|10th||Peter O. Hendler||– No Comment At This Time –|