If the Selma City Council approves a proposed plan that would add a nightly fee to the city’s lodging tax, the financial foundation of the YMCA of Selma could be much stronger. The plan would add $3 per night, per room to hotel accommodations within Selma. -- Tim Reeves

YMCA offers plan to city for long-term funding

Published 10:39pm Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More than 10 organizations came to the city council work session on Tuesday to ask for additional funding and the last organization on the list was the YMCA. The YMCA however asked for funding but in a way that would not be of any cost to the city. They proposed an idea that would generate an estimated $250,000 annually to stabilize the area’s YMCA program that is facing financial troubles.

The proposed plan would add a $3 per night, per room fee to the city’s lodging tax, generating the revenue. But, this plan only helps stabilize the YMCA’s long-term funding struggles. It in no way helps out with the YMCA’s short-term campaign to raise $1 million by Dec. 31 to fulfill an agreement with two financial institutions that would resolve roughly two-thirds of the YMCA’s debt.

“At this point, if we are not careful we are going to potentially lose the Y if we can’t sustain the debt that is there,” Selma Mayor George Evans said as he approached the council about the issue. “I support the concept of us working to save our Y and also coming up with a plan to save the Brown Y as well.”

YMCA of Selma volunteer board member Ronnie Leet provided the council the details of the plan during a Tuesday afternoon work session.

“One dollar of [the occupancy fee] would go to the city and $2 would go to the YMCA,” Leet said to the council. “This is a win-win proposition for both the city and the YMCA.”

Leet said the board’s estimation is that the additional lodging tax fee would generate $250,000 for the YMCA and an additional $125,000 for the city, “Which we are sure could be well used by the city,” Leet said.

Leet said those guests staying at Selma hotels would receive a guest pass to the YMCA during their stay.

“We would also offer memberships to the employees, managers and owners of all the hotels in the city … All of this is at no cost to the city,” Leet said

Council President Cecil Williamson decided the matter should first be turned over to the council’s administration committee, headed by council member Corey Bowie. The council after hearing the proposal, turned it over to the administration committee, under councilman Bowie, for further scrutiny.

Leet told members of the council that they had not yet discussed the matter with hotel owners and operators, “Because we need to have your blessing and it would be like having a big bulldog behind us.”

For more information on the YMCA of Selma’s current campaign — Why the Y? — designed to raise $1 million by Dec. 31, log on to www.ymcaofselma.org.


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