Council agrees to fund ex-Boys & Girls Club through fiscal year

Published 10:00 am Thursday, April 14, 2022

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The LaGrange City Council agreed in a split decision Tuesday to continue funding the Boys & Girls Club of West Georgia through the rest of the fiscal year despite the organization losing its charter status with the Boys & Girls Club of America. The motion passed with a 3-2 vote. Councilmembers W.T. Edmondson, Jim Arrington and Tom Gore voted to continue the funding through this fiscal year, which ends in June, while councilmembers Mark Mitchell and Nathan Gaskin voted against it. The latter two voiced concerns during the Tuesday work session on funding a program that has had continued issues.

According to a letter to the City of LaGrange, the Boys & Girls Club of West Georgia lost its status due to a series of violations, City Manager Meg Kelsey explained. These violations consisted of a “history of noncompliance,” Kelsey said, including not submitting an audit management letter in 2017 – 2020, a non-compliant background checks in 2018, non-submission of the financial annual report in 2018 – 2020, non-submission of an online safety assessment in 2020 and lack of paying membership fees.

These issues occurred under previous leadership of the Boys & Girls Club. The LaGrange chapter has been under the operation of West Georgia Star since March 2021, Kelsey explained, and is under the direction of executive director, Sabrina Allen.

Allen said Wednesday the repercussion of the charter loss is that the current Boys & Girls will no longer be affiliated with the national Boys & Girls Club but will operate as its own program, titled the West Georgia Star Youth Program.

However, the mission will stay the same.

“The kids need a safe, positive place to go after school,” Allen said. “If they’re not coming here they’re either at home or they’re in the middle of things they shouldn’t be.”

The city funds the Boys & Girls Club at $25,000 each budget year. The city voted to fund the remaining $6,250 final two months of the city’s fiscal year to West Georgia Star Youth Program. Allen said her program has already submitted an application to the city to fund the West Georgia Star Youth Program.

The West Georgia Star Youth Program currently has 52 children enrolled in the program and has a regular daily attendance of 30 or more.

The organization has a waiting list, Allen said, and already has participants signed up for the summer program it will host later this year.

In other business at the meeting:

  • The council passed on first reading UDO text amendments regarding industrial parking ratio requirements. These amendments specifically alter the minimum parking requirements for industrial and agricultural developments. The recommendation is to reduce the requirements from its two-parking space requirement for every 1,000 square feet.
  • The council passed a request to rezone property located at 304 Broad Street, the Truitt-Mansour house, to downtown mixed-use. The owner of the property plans to convert the Truitt-Mansour house into an event center and build a row of townhouses behind the property.
  • The council passed a request to rezone property located on the 800 block of New Franklin Road to commercial mixed-use. The property will be used to construct storage units.
  • The council passed two annexation requests to annex and rezone property located at 1350 LaFayette Parkway, B’s Meat Market, to commercial mixed-use.
  • The city voted to recertify itself as a City of Ethics through the Georgia Municipal Association. The city must apply to be certified every four years.