My topic this week is the generosity of the foundations in our community.
We are all very thankful for the many things that the various foundations have done for the community. I envy them as to how they organize and open up their wallets to get the job done before the city even thinks about where to get the money to solve the problem.
Sometimes foundation money will come with conditions in the way of matching funds or other requests that come attached to the donation. I can’t blame the actions of the foundations or the non-profits for trying to move things ahead faster then the city is able to do so. Often when the city partners up with the foundations or the non-profits, things can get complex when launching their projects. In order for the end results to happened, it takes the government entity time to cut through the process when dealing with tax dollars in order to protect those dollars while following proper protocol.
A good example of a donation is the downtown parking study plan. Mainstreet Association wanted a parking plan but it knew the city couldn’t afford such a plan. They needed to come up with a little incentive money, foundation money, in order to get the city to expend the money. Mainstreet Association chose the consultant, brokered a discounted fee, signed the contract, and they will be participating in the actual data collection. It appeared that the city lost total control of the situation with Mainstreet handling all the details. It gave the impression that all the city had to do was donate $18,500 to match the foundation’s money of $20,000 for a total of $38,500 needed for the study.
Mainstreet’s process is not the city’s usual format of conducting business. Only one city commissioner took exception as to how the procedure was being implemented. I hope the commissioner will continue to speak up over how transactions are being handled in the future.
Until next week, hopefully, the commission will not make it a habit of implementing unusual ways of doing things.