The time to vote is now for lodging fee to help ‘Y’

Published 9:39pm Saturday, January 5, 2013

Many times, we have taken to this space and urged support for the YMCA of Selma, its administration and its programs.

In this space, we have talked about the crucial Christian influence the YMCA programs have on our community. We have talked about the rich and entrenched history the YMCA has had in Selma and how that history, that presence and that influence must continue.

Last Thursday, the Selma City Council engaged in another tiresome debate on whether the proposed lodging fee increases — an increase that would go to support the YMCA — was necessary and what amount the increase should be.

There was debate, there were threats, there was finger pointing and there was a gavel that came dangerously close to cracking right down the middle.

In the end, despite the hollow threats — whether actual or for political reasons — the council seems poised to approve the lodging fee.

So, today, we take to this space to both thank the council for their integrity in supporting this worthwhile organization and to offer a few challenges.

We challenge each of the members of the Selma City Council to vote for this lodging fee increase. A unanimous vote would signal the community is united behind the YMCA of Selma; an organization that has provided so much to so many in Selma.

Those who will vote no because this lodging fee supposedly doesn’t go to support the Brown YMCA will do so because of reason that is not true. The Brown YMCA is part of the YMCA of Selma. A vote to support the YMCA of Selma is a vote to support the Brown YMCA. A vote no, is a vote against the Brown YMCA.

We challenge the YMCA administration once this lodging fee is approved to focus on increasing the level of transportation opportunities to the YMCA for those children who would benefit greatly from their services.

We challenge those who have made threats in this debate, to leave the discussion. You have proven you lack the ability to debate sensibly and honestly and have only added confusion and misinformation.

We challenge the city council to suspend their rules Tuesday evening and vote on the lodging fee increase ordinance — an ordinance that should be set for the compromised amount of $1.50 per room, per night for three years. And, the ordinance should commit the funds — all of the funds — to a contract with the YMCA of Selma.

The three-year time frame gives everyone involved — the city, the YMCA and the hotel operators — the opportunity to review the ordinance and evaluate if it would be vital to continue any longer.

Tuesday is a very important day in the history of the YMCA and of Selma. It is an important day for this Selma City Council. It is our hope — and our challenge to them — they will take whatever steps are necessary to vote Tuesday and vote for the YMCA.

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