Why the extra money? Boys and Girls Club benefits from added county funding in FYE15

Published 3:00 am Saturday, October 4, 2014

As Pike County commissioners reviewed the proposed 2015 budget in September, one line item prompted heated debate: an $18,500 appropriation to the Boys and Girls Club of Pike County.

The club, which provides resources and activities for children throughout the county, is one of several agencies that receives government funding each year, including funds from the county commission and the City of Troy.

However, the club asked for a $10,000 increase in its 2014 budget and again in 2015, prompting at least one commissioner to question why the club needed such a significant increase.

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“They’re getting $8,500 and they’re going to get $10,000 more than we did a one-time appropriation for last year,” said District 5 Commissioner Joey Jackson said.

Jackson has repeatedly said he believes the funds should be spent instead on roads. “When (county engineer) Russell (Oliver) turns his report in to us every two weeks he has a line item in there that says county roads and it always says ‘needs more funding.’ We are sitting here today and we are trying to fix everyone’s financial problems in their organizations but we are not doing anything about the roads for my constituents.”

Wayne Buchannan, the director for the Boys and Girls Club in Pike County, said the organization was a non-profit organization and most of the money the organization gets is through donations.

“It’s a diverse source of revenues coming from individual giving, fundraisers and federal and state grants,” Buchannan said. “Boys and Girls Club of America has grants for local clubs to apply, and some of those grants fund us. There are other agencies that do help with the Boys and Girls Club with funding, and the city helps with some of the funding.”

Buchannan said the $10,000 from the commission would be used to fund special events as well as the hiring of a qualified staff member for the organization’s Power Hour.

“A youth development professional, that’s the name of the position,” Buchannan said. “You’re looking at between 20 to 25 hours a week. There is a program called Power Hour when all the members are working on their homework. That staff will be spending that time helping tutor the students, checking that the homework is correct and making sure it’s done.”

Buchannan said the program also seeks to expand its offerings. “We would like to plan some field trips. We’re looking at taking a group of members to a Troy University football game.”

The Boys and Girls Club received the additional $10,000 appropriation for the last fiscal year, and while Buchannan said he did not anticipate the money, he was thankful the commission agreed to give the same amount this fiscal year as well.

“Thank you to the county commission board for allowing us to make the presentation to view the proposal, and then to vote to give the additional $10,000 to the Boys and Girls Club,” Buchannan said. “I do invite anyone in the community who would like to come and see the Boys and Girls Club in action. We will introduce them to the volunteers, interns and to our kids.”