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Council divided on rec funds

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

For over seven months $10,000 that was allocated for recreation scholarships has sat untouched in the city of Williston’s coffers.

It looks like it’s going to sit a little longer since after an hour of discussion and two votes Tuesday night, the council could not agree on how to disperse the funds.

Two weeks ago the council learned that the money was untouched and no child had ever made application for a scholarship that was intended to help defray registration costs.

 Three different groups, all that cater to recreational activities for youth, came forward and asked for a slice of the proverbial pie.

Representatives from the Williston Soccer Club, WeSoar and WYAA all told the council they could use the money for various expenses.

Tuesday night the council had three proposals from the groups on how they could utilize extra money. The expenses ranged from operational costs to equipment to trophies.

Councilor Charles Goodman said he thought the funds should be dispersed based on the number of youth served.  All total about 519 children participate in recreational programs in the three groups. Goodman said using that number equated to about $19.25 per child.

If that methodology was used WeSoar would receive about $365; the Soccer Club about $962 and WYAA would  get the lion’s share of $8,662.

Councilor Cal Byrd wanted the $10,000 divided into thirds. Council President Jason Cason even suggested another breakdown of $1,500 for WeSoar; $2,500 for the Soccer Club and $4,000 for WYAA.  Goodman even suggested doubling the funds for WeSoar and the Soccer Club since they were start up agencies. 

But after two failed votes–both 2-3–Cason asked the councilors to mull it over some more and asked the city manager to weigh in with his opinion at a later date.

Cason told the groups’ representatives to be patient because they will get money.

Councilors agreed that the funds, when dispersed, must be used for equipment and not for operational costs.