Council approves funds for youth violence initiatives, cuts library funding

Published 9:00 am Saturday, May 27, 2023

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The LaGrange City Council has tentatively approved a slate of agency funding requests for the FY2024 budget. The city plans to fund a pair of initiatives to help reduce youth violence but notably intends to cut library funding.

During the five-hour-plus budget work session on Tuesday, the council discussed funding for local non-profit agencies. Many of the agencies have received funds from the City of LaGrange for more than a decade. After funding requests topped $1.25 million in FY2017, the city began tightening the coffers, reducing the funding by half the following year.

Last year the city approved $466,375.37 in agency funding, much of which went to DASH, which received $100,000. The city has since changed the way they handle DASH funding, which will be approved on a project-by-project basis. DASH did not request any agency funding for FY2024.

Council members tentatively agreed to fund $218,180.29 in agency funding. The funding will be approved when the budget is finalized in June.

The council agreed to fund two requests from Bruce Griggs, founder of the Saving Our Sons campaign, who presented a funding request for a pair of initiatives to help address youth violence in LaGrange.  Bruce is the son of the late William J. Griggs, the namesake of the recreation center on Glenn Robertson Dr.

Saving Our Sons plans to host a three-day young men’s conference at Great Wolf Lodge to properly initiate young men into manhood.  Griggs requested $8,180.29 in funding from the city to support the event.

Griggs also requested $75,000 for an eight-week summer camp for young men titled “Boys to Men Summer Camp.”

The council agreed to fund both initiatives this year in the hope that they will help with the recent spike in youth shootings. If the initiatives are determined to be effective, the city will consider continuing to fund them next year.

The city agreed to fund the majority of the agencies at the funding levels requested.

Other agencies tentatively approved for funding in the FY2024 budget include:

4 Harmony House ($12,500)

4 Chattahoochee Riverkeeper ($10,000)

4 LaGrange Personal Aid ($12,500)

4 LaGrange Art Museum ($12,500)

4 LaGrange Symphony Orchestra ($7,500)

4 Women of the Church ($2,000)

4 Foster Grandparent/Senior Companion Program ($8,000)

4 West Georgia Star ($12,500)

4 LaFayette Society for the Performing Arts ($12,500)

4 Red Cross ($12,500)

4 Troup Cares ($7,500)

4 Communities in Schools ($12,500)

4 Salvation Army ($12,500)

The council has rejected a $12,500 request from the LaGrange Memorial Library for $12,500 in funding, noting they just gave them $1.2 million to renovate the building.

“They’re going to sit out this year,” Councilman Mark Mitchell said. “If they need something that comes up and they run out of cash, they can come to see us and we can amend the budget.”

City Manager Meg Kelsey said the library reported having $2,281,482 cash on hand as of Feb. 15, 2023.