Mayor clarifies agency funding changes

Published 9:00 am Thursday, June 15, 2023

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During the LaGrange City Council meeting on Tuesday, Mayor Willie Edmondson announced agency funding changes to the proposed FY2024 budget.

Edmondson said four agencies will receive funding to help with the deadly ongoing teen violence problem that has been plaguing the city. Communities in Schools, Saving Our Sons, Tribe Ujima and Greater Achievement Youth Empowerment Academy are slated to receive $12,500 each.

During the initial budget talks on agency funding session, only two of the four, Communities in Schools and Bruce Griggs’ Saving Our Sons campaign, were tentatively approved for funds by the council.

The consensus at the time was to honor Communities in Schools’ request for $12,500 and to provide $8,180.29 to Griggs for a young men’s conference at Great Wolf Lodge and $75,000 for a youth summer camp.

Edmondson said the initial consensus of the council was to approve the $83,180.29 request from Griggs, however, it was never officially approved as part of the budget.

“That was before we got complaints from people about having to go up on utilities and utilities was a big thing,” Edmondson said.

Funding for Tribe Ujima and Greater Achievement Youth Empowerment Academy were also not included in the initially proposed budget discussions, but the new budget includes $12,500 for each.

It was always his intention to provide funding for all four agencies, Edmondson said. He said all of the remaining agency funds that were tentatively approved remain in the updated budget.

Edmonson said all agency funding was limited to $12,500. Other agencies that will tentatively receive funding include:

4 Harmony House ($12,500)

4Chattahoochee Riverkeeper ($10,000)

4LaGrange Personal Aid ($12,500)

4LaGrange Art Museum ($12,500)

4LaGrange Symphony Orchestra ($7,500) 

4Women of the Church ($2,000)

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

4West Georgia Star ($12,500) 

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

4Red Cross ($12,500) 

4Troup Cares ($7,500)

4 Salvation Army ($12,500)

Edmondson said the agency funding is still not official as it has only been included in the first reading of the proposed budget.

“This is not etched in stone, the $12,500 is not etched in stone because we can also do some other changes before then and it could be brought up before the actual budget voted on,” Edmondson said.

Edmondson said the updated budget will not require a utility rate increase, at least for this year. He said that ARPA funds will be used to pay for the proposed increase to officer salaries at the LaGrange Police Department. The council had previously considered raising utility rates by 2-3% to fund an increase in starting pay for LPD officers to $60,000.

The FY2024 budget is expected to come up for a final vote at the Tuesday, June 20 council meeting.