Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
Editor 

Child Developmental Center needs money for repairs

 

March 13, 2019



The Sweetwater County Child Developmental Center may want to readdress how much of their sixth-cent overage they want to continue to invest.

During a recent Sweetwater County Commissioners, SCCDC board members, their executive director, Cristy Pelham, and their attorney, Danielle Mathey, spoke to the Commissioners about the a second amendment to the SCCDC’s memorandum of understanding regarding when the SCCDC receives funding.

Mathey said this is a concern for three reasons, the SCCDC has a new board, the MOU amendment was never approved by the SCCDC board and they have maintenance issues at the Rock Springs facility that need addressing.

She said the board is having to find finances for these needs and isn’t sure where the funding is going to come from.

Chairman Wally Johnson said the Commissioners entered into that agreement believing the SCCDC board had approved it.

Sweetwater County Treasurer Robb Slaughter said the discussion took place with the previous SCCDC director at the March 6, 2018, meeting, while the action and approval of the change occurred at the April 3, 2018, meeting. The agreement changed to reflect the discussion and the SCCDC was going to receive the funds twice a year instead of once a year. The county also gave the SCCDC an additional $100,000 to help the center out with maintenance costs.

Johnson said once those sixth-penny tax funds are depleted, the county won’t be giving out any more funding.

Mathey said the previous director didn’t speak to the board or the attorney about the change and so the new board wanted to know what was going on.

During an interview Tuesday, Pelham said they have major concerns about the Rock Springs center’s parking lot and the concrete pad in front of the building.

“With the snow we are seeing this pad rise up and cause our front doors to be blocked, they won’t open or shut, and this is our main entrance and exit,” Pelham said. “We have fought this with a few small solutions, but those are happening to often and we need to do a new pad when the weather is nicer.”

As for the parking lot, the facility only has one entrance and exit which makes it difficult for buses and parents to drop children off at school. They are concerned about potential safety concerns and would like to address this by expanding the parking lot or creating a second entrance. She said they would also like a public announcement system to announce emergencies and a set of fire doors.

“Right now with emergencies we can not get the word to everyone and that is unsafe for a school,” she said. “The fire doors would allow us to lock down the bottom floor wing for emergencies.” 

Pelham said the SCCDC doesn’t have any problems with the way the money is being handled by Slaughter.

“The problem was a communication issue with how we could access monies when emergencies, like the phones and the concrete pad in front come up,” she said.   

Pelham explained that in the summer the main phone switch started to go out and they had no choice but to have it replaced.

“We had to finance the project and cut back the amount of phones and lines,” she said.  “We dropped about 15 lines and spent $25,000 for a new switch and 15 new phones and lines. We had to finance them so we have interest payments and principle payments each month.”

These are the reasons why the SCCDC is looking at the possibility of freeing up some of the sixth-cent money the county has tied up in long-term investments.

Slaughter said when the additional six-penny funds were invested the SCCDC board at the time wanted to invest it in long-term investments so it would receive so much funding every year. This way, they would always have a steady flow of income.

He said if the board wants to free up some money tied in investments he needs to know ahead of time so he can pull money out at the right time. For example: one of the SCCDC’s long-term investments is up in November or December of this year. If they would like to take some or all of that money, that would be the time to do it.

He said currently, if they were to pull their money out they would lose money. The rate is about 97 cents per dollar.   

Pelham said they continue to take funding cuts and have lost millions of dollars in funding in the last five to six years.

“We have taken cuts from the state, from the federal government, from United Way and from local donors,” Pelham said. “We also have increased the number of kids we serve and that means more expenses.” 

The Commissioners said it’s their money and if they want some early, that’s fine, but they cautioned the board about using too much of it.

Even though funds are tight now, they may get even tighter and when the money is gone, it’s gone.

 

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