Mayor’s Help for the Homeless Stalled
On the agenda for the July 23rd, council meeting was Resolution 3214 that was an agreement with the Payson Homeless and Homeless Veterans Initiative to pay them a mere $3,768.34 for the year 20/21. This money was for the continuum of care for the homeless and the warming center to open again this year.
At the beginning of the meeting there were 3 public comments read aloud to the council. All opposing the funding of the Warming Center questioning the exact amount requested as if it was somehow less legitimate than the much bigger even amounts approved recently.
Janell Sterner made a motion to table the idea. Suzy Tubbs seconded the motion, and Barbara Underwood made a statement agreeing with Tubbs and Sterner wanting a presentation. When the Acting Town Manager read the agenda item she stated that records were requested and had been provided to the council before it was brought to them.
In contrast, in the council meeting held on March 30, 2020 the sum of $36,000 was approved for the Chamber of Commerce for 20/21, and a hefty $6,000 a month to the Humane Society was granted both providing nothing to back up the expenditures, or show where the money went last year. So, essentially the council approved $6,000 a month for dogs & cats, but tabled $316 a month for human beings? What?
From the Town Code Title III, Chapter 35.03 item (A) Disbursement of funds shall be for public purposes only. Disbursements of such funds shall be to obtain goals sought by the Council, and not be for purposes primarily to benefit non-profit corporations. No donations, gifts or grants, whether by subsidy or otherwise, are permitted.
B): No funds may be disbursed to non-profit corporations except by compliance with the following:
(1) The Council shall make a finding of fact, at a public meeting, of the following:
(a) The goal sought to be achieved by the disbursement of the funds is one which the Council would seek to attain whether or not the non-profit organization requested the right to perform the services in return for funds.
(b) The exact nature of the purpose to which the funds are to be used.
(c) That the consideration to be received by the town will be to the town residents and taxpayers alone. Funds will not be disbursed in return for consideration beneficial to other than town taxpayers and residents.
(d) That the consideration to be received by the town is approximately equal in value to the amount of funds given.
(e) Each non-profit corporation requesting town funding shall provide the town with all state and federal tax numbers issued by the state and federal taxing authorities with each application for funds and prior to receipt of any funds from the town. Any changes in the non-profit corporation tax status as a non-profit corporation or any change of the tax numbers assigned to each non-profit corporation shall be reported to the town within five days of each change.
(2) The requesting organization shall provide the factual basis for the finding required in division (1) above.
(3) No funds may be disbursed to a non-profit corporation except by written contract. The contract must include a requirement that the corporation provide audible records to the town, monthly or on another regular basis, as determined by the town.
Why the Acting Town Manager is allowing these expenditures to be presented to the Council that are not complete, and then placing them on the consent agenda hoping to push them through without discussion is a good question. This is exactly what happened with the Chamber and the Humane Society expenditures. These items should have been tabled until a presentation was made to answer questions. During the meeting a phone call was made to Mia Crespin from the Chamber, but there were no financials in front of the council to be able to ask specific questions. She said the financials would be provided, but to our knowledge nothing has been submitted to the council members to date. This isn’t just against the Town’s own protocols, it’s either negligent or some form of nepotism. We need an experienced Town Manager that isn’t connected to the MHA, doesn’t have a husband on the police force, and isn’t on the school board. August 6th and 7th the Town will be conducting interviews for the Town Manager at 3PM each day. The public should be allowed to participate in the selection process of this critical position in the Town. What do you think?