GREENVILLE – Should the city give Main Street Greenville and Darke County Visitors Bureau $20,000 or $25,000 each? Should $10,000 from the city’s community funds be used to build the YOLO Urban Park?
That was the choice Greenville City Council had to make at its regular meeting on Tuesday when the Finance Committee offered opposing reports for council to consider.
Ultimately, council chose to give each agency $20,000 and the YOLO Committee $10,000. The community funds are derived from the hotel bed tax. It was originally proposed by the DCVB as a funding mechanism for the organization. From its beginning, the funds have not only been used to fund that organization but also other events including the horseshoe tournaments, Gathering at Garst, Annie Oakley Days and more.
Councilman Jeff Whitaker, author of the minority that was not approved, said he thought the committee had a report that was approved by all three members that would have given DCVB and MSG $27,500 of the $30,000 requested by both organizations. Whitaker was absent from a previous council meeting when that report was supposed to be presented.
“I don’t know why it got withdrawn, but that was the report I left town with,” Whitaker said. “It got agreed to 3-0, by the way. Nobody had any guns to anybody’s head. That was the report that we had submitted.”
He understood there was a question as to funds needed for Greenville-Union Cemetery and whether they had been appropriated through other funds. Those funds totaled $5,000.
When asked by Mayor Steve Willman about why there was a big disparity in the two reports for the two organizations, Finance Committee member Doug Schmidt did little to explain.
“It was a decision that was reached,” Schmidt said. “That was the feeling. I thought that was the assignment. We were all there. You were there, Jeff was there, John (Hensley) was there.”
The mayor said there wasn’t much discussion at the committee’s second meeting “because the public wasn’t really allowed to say anything.”
Schmidt responded, “Every group that was in the meeting, the first one that we had, was given ample opportunity to speak, but we were unable to come to a majority agreement.”
Councilman Hensley said the only difference between the two reports was the funding for YOLO and the decrease for MSG and DCVB.
Whitaker thought the city could offer YOLO low interest loans in place of providing funds to complete the project. The city is expected take control of the park once it has been completed and will eventually be responsible for the cost of maintaining the park.
“It was my opinion the (MSG and DCVB) do a lot for community development and community events for people throughout the year,” Whitaker said.
Council approved the majority report 6-1 with Whitaker voting against. The $20,000 DCVB and MSG will receive is an increase from the $18,000 each agency received last year.
Also receiving community funds were Greenville-Union Cemetery, $5,000; Ohio Horseshoe Tournament, $1,750; Ringer Classic Horseshoe Tournament, $1,750; community events appropriations, $12,000; Gathering at Garst, $500; Annie Oakley Festival, $1,500; baseball league, $2,000; softball league, $2,000; fireworks $11,261; for a total of $87,761.