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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Updated: More Last-Minute Requests For Budget Money

Fairhope, Al.

Updated: to include video below.

2016 BUDGET BEING FINALIZED
Senior Bowl wants money

At a special budget work session last Thursday, the city council heard about several new requests for money, including a big one from the annual Senior Bowl football game.

Angus Cooper, president of the Mobile Senior Bowl Inc., which holds two practice-sessions at Major's Field, told the council if they did not get another $35,000 every year, they could pull out of the city and hold practice somewhere else.

Cooper: "... like to give you the opportunity ... to continue having the practices here ... the players don't like coming over here ... its too far ... ."

(One observer told the Times after the meeting Cooper's "threat" sounded "like blackmail.")

Council president Burrell said he personally supports the game in many ways (a Sr. Bowl committee member) -- his father 'Ode' Burell was its MVP back in the early 1960s -- but did not think it appropriate to commit that much more of taxpayer money for entertainment  and worried about "government growing out of control."

The city already provides many free in-kind services like the use of the field, police security, overtime for employees, etc.

Burrell: "I have seen many request like this turned down ... simply because they came in too late ... passed the July deadline ... ."

He said he thought there was not that much direct economic benefit for the city since the game is held in Mobile -- and suggested $10 - $20,000 would be more appropriate.

Brewer asked for a "long term commitment" for the practices and additional "camps" to stay here and suggested $25K instead; Cooper replied he "can get" such commitments.

Mueller proposed $30K; but Boone and Ford the whole amount requested ($35K).

After Mueller changed and decided to side with Ford and Boone to make a majority, the whole 35K was included.

Mueller added that instead of reducing the donation to the football game, he would prefer cutting the Education Advisory Committee's funding instead.

Cooper is a frequent contributor to local political campaigns and unconfirmed reports say a he recently-hosted a "kickoff" for one's re-election,

 He also is on the Board of Directors of the Gulfquest Maritime Museum, Brewer's current employer.


MORE BALL FIELDS TOO?

Also suddenly brought up, a request from the Recreation Committee for $40,000 to start engineering studies for adding two more baseball fields to Volanta Park: total costs for the project could eventually be over $3 million, according to prior estimates by the committee.

(There will be drainage improvements and additions to other facilities there as well: the Frisbee golf course may have to be re-located to the Colony Nature Park)


MORE EDUCATION FUNDS DIVERTED

A request to divert $5,000 from the Education Advisory Committee's usual $350,000 donation to Care House for abused children received no opposition.


OTHERS INCLUDED TOO?

Additional donation-request letters from other organizations were referred to but not provided to the public or media.

According to a 2009 council resolution, request letters have to be be submitted by July every year to be considered.


APPROVAL STILL NEEDED
Ford leaving early for a "social event" with Cooper.

Although not officially on the agenda for Monday's council meeting, a motion could be made to consider and approve the proposed entire 2016 City Budget a that time.

Specific funding for each item will also have to be approved by the council as they come up over the coming year.

(Note: The budget meeting had to be cut short when the mayor, Ford and Boone left to attend a "social event" at Steelwood Country Club in Loxley.)




In the video below, Cooper asks for the money and responds to Brewer's request for a long-term commitment:



7 comments:

Anonymous said...

less for education more for foot ball. typical alabama thinking.

Anonymous said...

We should do anything they ask for to keep the game here.

Anonymous said...

Angus is a good Christian man, He has done a lot for Mobile over the years.

Anonymous said...

I'm just curious, why do WE have to pay THEM to hold practices here?

Anonymous said...

Isn't he the same one who demanded money for the new baby center at the hospital last year? Said or else the hospital would move somewhere else too. Sounds like extortion to us.

Anonymous said...

Prayer is what this city and country needs most right now.

Ask Jesus Christ for forgiveness of our sins.

Anonymous said...

We need to try and keep the practices here but that is way to much of our tax money!

You are talking about only 2 days of the year, one for the north team and one for the south squad.

Like the man said, all of the visitors stay at hotels in Mobile, not here, so we get hardly any tax revenue out of it.

How much cash is the city of Mobile giving now?

Are we expected to be making up for their cutbacks over there?