TROY — After concerns with the Lincoln Community Center’s $25,000 budget allocation were voiced by a board member, Troy City Council will have a second reading at the next council meeting. The allocation also will be reviewed by the finance committee at a meeting not yet scheduled.
On Monday, Lincoln Community Center board treasurer Ted Zimmerman addressed city council prior to action on the council agenda.
Zimmerman said, “It was just notified to us today that the city was planning to designate $25,000 for the Lincoln Community Center unbeknownst to us. We found out about it through the newspaper today. We were never conveyed a number or any sort of information about how the relationship with the city would move forward. It was detailed to us that we’d received $25,000 and all the services that the city has provided for us including insurance and water, trash, DP&L bills would be gone after the first of the year. I would advise the council to reconsider this number. This number is not even close in the amount of support we’ve received from the city. Although we are very gracious for anything we get from the city, this is severely less than what we are currently receiving at the Lincoln Community Center.”
Zimmerman said he has tried to communicate with city of Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington and claims “he has never once wanted to sit down and talk about the relationship that Troy has with the Lincoln Community Center.”
Zimmerman said he has not received any communication from the city about the $25,000 agency support and why the services would be suspended as of Jan. 1.
“I know he has not communicated that to anyone on our board,” said Zimmerman in closing.
Director of the Lincoln Community Center Shane Carter provide this statement on Tuesday, “In reference to Lincoln Center budget, I trust that city council and the city staff will work hard with the Lincoln Center to provide us with the adequate resources we need to sustain and continue to grow our organization. Over the last seven years and my tenure, the collaboration between the city and a Lincoln Center has been critical to our success and we look forward to continuing our relationship.”
Titterington later addressed Zimmerman’s comments following the motion of council member Tom Kendall’s request to move the agenda item to a second reading. Council member Todd Severt said he didn’t know if it was the appropriate time for Titterington to address council following Zimmerman’s concerns, and requested a finance committee meeting from president Marty Baker.
Baker approved the item to go back to the finance committee before the next council meeting.
Titterington said he didn’t have an issue with the resolution going back to committee and addressed some of Zimmerman’s comments.
“Up until this point, I thought the city and city staff was working very diligently on behalf of the LCC to help them further their new vision and strategy,” Titterington said.
Titterington said the LCC began the process to get land transferred from Troy City Schools to the city, who owns the building, to then transfer to the Community Improvement Corp. in the future. Titterington said the city has been working for more than a year on a process to find a solution for the center.
“It was very well known that this kind of relationship moving forward would be best for all involved and would be the way to go forward if we are not going to own the property, much like we don’t own the property at the (Troy) Rec, we don’t own the (Troy Development Council) or Main Street and so this arrangement makes the most sense,” he said. “I think everybody at least at that time agreed. When it comes down to what that amount is we’ll be more than happy to discuss that. I’ll reach out the Executive Director (LCC Shane Carter) to have a meeting.”
Titterington said he only recently had been invited to attend LCC board meetings with little prior notice or he had conflicts with other obligations.
“That does not mean that I’ve never not been available or accessible for meetings. Again, I’ll certainly make myself available. I will speak for (Clerk of Council Sue Knight) who is a board member of the LLC and that she indicated to me that she did discuss this number and this arrangement and this 2019 budget scenario at their last board meeting and beyond that there have been no communications with or by LCC staff.”
Zimmerman spoke out saying Knight didn’t attend the last LCC board meeting. In an email to the Troy Daily News, Titterington confirmed Knight attended the Oct. 22 meeting with the LCC.
Shane Carter, was in attendance at the meeting, but did not speak on the record.
Titterington said he was OK with the resolution going back to a finance committee meeting.
“At the end if we decide that this arrangement is not the right arrangement we should continue how we have budgeted and what we have budgeted for 50 years or more then that may be one of the alternatives to discuss,” Titterington said.
Council Bill Twiss asked what the 2018 budget for LLC is. Titterington said the number varies from year to year.
In an email to the Troy Daily News, Titterington said, “There is no paperwork except the annual budget document, which shows that the city has spent between $16,752 and $24,165 annually over the last five years, including the 2018 General Fund budget.”
“Over the last five years, the most we’ve spent out of our general fund budget is a little over $24,000. In that we do provide in-kind services,” Titterington said, listing off LCC building insurance, no rent fees, mowing, trash service, snow removal, water, sewer service at no charge. “Those are some of the things we’ll discuss with staff.”
Titterington said it has been discussed for more than a year since the Troy City Schools transferred the land to the city and more research was supposed to be done in the area of yard mowing and other services.
At the end of the council meeting, Titterington again addressed the “miscommunication” regarding the LLC funding issue.
“We do sincerely want to do it right. We have been heavily involved in this. We know they have great plans that hopefully involve some expansion of the facility. We want to make sure we provide them with the tools they need to grow and to be as self-sustaining as possible. If the $25,000 budget isn’t the number, we will get to that number. If the process or what we thought we were going to do isn’t the best course of action, then we will recommend either status quo or some other action. There are resources for the LCC one way or another, we do have some time to make sure we do it right,” Titterington said.
Troy Mayor Michael Beamish provided the following statement on Tuesday: “For years, the city has supported the LCC in so many ways, including financial and in kind services. We have also authorized CDBG dollars for pool, handicapped access, and other building renovations. We know they would like to expand their operations. We have facilitated agreements with the schools, Park Board, and our ownership to allow the LCC to move forward with their vision and future plans. I am disappointed that all this city effort seems to be lost over a budget item. I also believe it is unfair to single out Patrick (Titterington) as unresponsive to LCC requests when, in fact, he, as my director, has authorized all these renovation and maintenance efforts. He also has spent a lot of behind-the-scenes time trying to get all the key entities and elements resolved. I have always and will continue to be a supporter of the Lincoln Community Center.”