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C-ville Town Board Members Raise Concerns Over Where Funding is Going With Youth Bureau

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With the start of the New Year comes approving contract agreements with multiple organizations, municipalities, and area businesses for the year. During the Town of Cortlandville’s Town Board meeting on Wednesday, the Town Board reviewed multiple contracts and agreements with the Town.

Town Board member David Donlick brought up concerns regarding the funding request by the City of Cortland Youth Bureau. This year, the Youth Bureau requested $86,820 dollars from the Town, an increase of just over $3,000 dollars from 2023. He mentioned as he read the Collaborative Agreement with the Youth Bureau as a taxpayer instead of a Town Board Member, he couldn’t justify where the money that would be given by the Town for the Youth Bureau.

In the Collaborative Agreement written by City of Cortland Youth Bureau Director, Andrea Piedigrossi, fund spending would go towards a new Chevy 2500 truck ($60,000), City Reporter Maintenance Management Software ($10,405), and Tiny Mobile Robot ($16,415).

“It sounds like this should be coming from the City [of Cortland] operating budget. I have no problem giving them the money, I just want them to allocate it to different [programs]” Donlick said to the Town Board. “This should be coming from the City operating budget when it’s a vehicle. A lining machine, a lot of school systems have been buying these right and left.”

He continued on stating he would’ve preferred the Youth Bureau to request the over $80,000 dollars towards programming instead of the equipment listed above. He suggested that the collaborative agreement be returned back to the Youth Bureau until the next meeting where the Youth Bureau may show where it can go for programming and provide statistics on how many youths who live in Cortlandville take advantage of the programs offered.

“I’m all for giving [Youth Bureau] money. I just want to do it differently.” Donlick said to the Board.

Town Board Member Greg Leach seconded Donlick’s viewpoints towards the 2024 agreement. Noting the requested funds for equipment purchases. He continued saying the Town has paid for things including uniforms, chlorine for Wickwire Pool and improvements at the pool.

“I still don’t know how many of our residents [the Youth Bureau] are taking care of. I’d like to point out in 2022 it was $80,000; it’s gone up $6,000 dollars in two years.” Leach said.

He also pointed out that the lining machine wouldn’t be used to help Cortlandville as the Town lines their own fields. Leach said for other recreation departments he knows where the money is going towards exactly and is straightforward.

Cortlandville Town Supervisor Tom Williams stated to the Board he would “take the hit” regarding the explanation of where the funding will go. Williams said he originally requested the detailed explanation of where the funding was going when he first came into office for the Town, saying originally the Youth Bureau would just request an amount and the town would pay for it.

“[The Youth Bureau] figure is that quite often it’s around 25% of Cortlandville kids involved in programs.” Williams said.

Surveys have been done in the past by the Youth Bureau regarding Wickwire Pool usage by those who live in Cortlandville. The survey also sampled those who used Yaman Park in the City of Cortland too, Williams explained, which showed the average of 25% of those using the facilities being from Cortlandville.

Leach asked when was the last time a survey was conducted by the Youth Bureau in regards to how many residents from Cortlandville use programs or facilities by the Youth Bureau. He noted Cortlandville has increased its recreation offerings available, mentioning Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex and Ted Testa Park.

Williams agreed he will work to gather an itemized list of what the Town would approve the money going towards as well as data of how many residents of Cortlandville use the offerings by the Youth Bureau. The Town Board then voted unanimously to table approval of the agreement to at least next meeting.

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