Council votes to extend contract with Y two years

Published 10:23 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Selma City Council voted Tuesday to extend its contract with the YMCA of Selma and Dallas County for two years.

The council also decided to continue to split the city’s $2 hotel lodging fee equally between the YMCA and a fund being set aside to restore the old Brown YMCA building.

City council members toured the YMCA Monday ahead of Tuesday’s vote on extending the contact, which expired in January.

Email newsletter signup

“I’m asking that this council go on record extending the contract an additional two years and serving notice to the YMCA that they are going to have to look for other ways and means for their financials because after two years we may not be able to continue to engage them,” said Councilman Johnny Leashore.

The lodging fee was created in 2013 and has been used to help the YMCA get out of debt. For three years, the fee was divided with $1.50 going to the YMCA and 50 cents being set aside for the Brown fund.

Last year, the city council voted to divide the fee equally and renew the city’s contract with the YMCA for one year.

Councilman Sam Randolph asked why the council should continue the contract for two years rather than one.

“When we first decided to give them that money we said the same things, that we wanted to give them the opportunity to get their feet under them,” Randolph said. “I’m not against this, but I don’t get the logic between one or two years.”

Leashore said two years would give the YMCA enough time to prepare to operate without the lodging fee should that money be diverted to other needs.

“I think we need to give them adequate time to plan, research and look for other resources,” Leashore said. “They have financial obligations that they have to pay, and this council has the opportunity to help them with their financial concerns.

The council voted unanimously to extend the city’s contract with the YMCA for two years. Councilwoman Miah Jackson was absent from Tuesday night’s meeting.

Leashore and Councilwoman Susan Youngblood, whose ward includes the YMCA, both said they were impressed by the council’s visit to the YMCA.

“I was just really bowled over by some of the things they are doing out into the community,” Youngblood said. “They are trying to take the Y to the people who can’t get to the Y. That’s a good thing. There were heartwarming stories they told about changes in the lives of children, and I think that’s the thing we should feel the best about.”

The YMCA has started an after-school program at Sophia P. Kingston and plans to host its Power Scholars summer camp for 120 students at two local elementary schools this summer.

The council also discussed the old Brown YMCA building. The fund set aside to renovate the former Y now has more than $100,000.

Leashore said he hopes that money can be used to stabilize the building before its lost.