By MARTHA McCLAIN
Special to the PRESS
Laguna Vista leaders decided in principle Tuesday to enter into a service agreement as a means to help fund the Laguna Madre Boys and Girls Club for the balance of this fiscal year, and likely the coming year as well.
Last funded by the Town in 2010, the Club has encountered recent organizational and financial issues, prompting supporters to reevaluate its operations in efforts to assist in its reformation.
Club spokesmen Robert Rodriguez and Heather Scott told Council members that the Club needed financial assistance to help finish its current summer programs and requested $5,000 in support.
In order to comply with state statutes, City Attorney Ricardo Morado suggested the board consider adopting a service agreement with the entity where the Town declares the functions of the organization serve an essential public need. The organization would then provide recreational services that could be measured. “In essence the Town agrees to pay for certain services…not donate funds to them,” he said.
The Club would be required to demonstrate proof of service by accounting for the number of students served and timing, he said, adding the agreement could be renewable, instead of a one-time deal.
Questions of the Town’s ability to pay for the services for the remainder of this fiscal year without creating a budget amendment were raised by Councilwoman Nadine Smith. “We won’t need to amend the budget,” City Manager Rolando Vela replied.
The value of the Boys and Girls Club were noted by Mayor Susie Houston who said the entity provides life skills, character development, career development and otherwise shapes children’s futures.
Councilman Gary Meschi, who served as a past board member for the Club, said that the entity has served the community well over the years. “If you save one kid from the streets, how much is that worth?” he asked. “The work the club does in this area with low income families. They have every opportunity to do things the wrong way, use drugs, get in trouble. That club has saved some kids,” he added.
Additional requests are being presented to the Point Isabel school district, Cameron County and cities of Port Isabel and South Padre Island.
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