BELLEAIR BEACH -- It appears that the expenditure for the YMCA will be dead on arrival the next time the issue comes before the City Council, most likely next Monday, August 16.
That estimate is based on discussion at the Finance Committee meeting July 29 where the $20,000 outlay got shot down.
Failure of the giveaway to a private group will come as a heavy blow to Mayor Mike Kelly who will lose face with his fellow mayors in the little group -- Belleair Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores -- that decided to subsidize the YMCA a few years ago.
In the discussion at the July 29 meeting, the fact that still doesn't get through to Belleair Beach legislators is that the amount of participation among residents has nothing to do with the payment.
The $20,000 coughed up by Belleair Beach the last few years was strictly a gift to the YMCA. Anyone who wants to participate in activities has to pay.
Another factor in the $20,000 gift is whether it is appropriate, let alone legal, for taxpayers money to go to a private organization.
Why not ship a boatload of dollars to some of the local churches each year? Or help some local worthy businessman? Or be real innovative and just not waste taxpayers money?
The YMCA scheme began about three years ago when North Pinellas YMCA approached the mayors of the three cities (Belleair Shore is too minuscule to count) seeking a method to finance -- that is, capitalize -- expenditures for administration and wages.
The mayors came up with a formula for pitching in $100 per resident. Belleair Beach very magnanimously rounded up its figure, that should have been on the order of $16,000 or $17,000, to $20,000.
Indian Rocks Beach contributes $60,000 and Indian Shores the other $20,000 to bring the money to the desired $100,000.
The idea of dropping the idea of funding the YMCA came from Donna Durante.
Her move obviously rocked Kelly who was asked by Chairman Bert Cutler if he wanted to defend the expenditure.
"Yes," Kelly said at the July 29 meeting, "It won't work without all the cities -- we provide the backbone of the program."
Cutler said, "Did the mayor change anyone's mind?"
The response was negative.
"So Belleair Beach is going to drop out of North Pinellas YMCA?" Kelly said in great chagrin, thinking, no doubt, of how he would deliver the bad news to his fellow mayors.
Still Kelly hung on. "What are the views?" he asked, hoping, apparently, that there would be a change of mind among Finance Committee members.
"I say no and they agree; it is not justified," Cutler said.
The motion to end the YMCA funding carried. The recommendation will now go to the City Council.
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