We strongly encourage support of proposed fee

Published 2:39 pm Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thursday, the Selma City Council will hold their first meeting of the new year and included in their work session will be a discussion on the proposed lodging fee — a fee that would support both the YMCA and the city of Selma.

The idea for an additional lodging fee, two-thirds of which would go to the YMCA and the other third going to the city, has drawn others who want part of the revenue from the additional fee.

Knowing that this measure will soon come to a vote, we strongly encourage the council to consider the fee, because the long-term financial foundation of the YMCA of Selma-Dallas County is important. The Selma-Dallas County YMCA is battling financial struggles. While this additional fee — which would be $3 per room, per night on all Selma hotel rooms — would go to support the YMCA of Selma and partially, the city’s operating fund, it does not solve the current, more immediate funding concern for the YMCA. The YMCA has reached an agreement with two financial institutions, which hold two thirds of the YMCA’s debt, which would allow the YMCA to retire that debt quickly.

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In the agreement, the YMCA needed to raise $1 million by Dec. 31. In exchange, the institutions would wipe away an additional $1 million in debt. Combined, this deal would eliminate two-thirds of the Y’s debt associated with the construction of the current YMCA.

We ask that the city council think long and hard about the benefits the Y brings our community and suggest voting yes on the hotel lodging fee.