— Athens City Council members have decided to withhold funding for the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program in Athens until city officials can review audits of the agency’s books. They also tabled action until mid-year on requests for funding on two unrelated historical projects simply because of the timing. The council approved funding for 22 other city and county entities during their regular meeting Monday.
The council also acknowledged it had a $1.4 million surplus for fiscal 2012-13, compared to $1.1 million in 2011-12 and $900,000 in $2010-11. The council agreed to amend the fiscal 2012-13 budget to add $500,000 in capital spending on equipment and other items; a $200,000 previous commitment to Calhoun Community College Robotics Technology Park, $200,000 for insurance liability, and $48,000 to extend Wilkerson Street for industrial development. It also added $43,000 to cover rent of the Athens Utilities building.
Part of the surplus may also be spent to create an equipment lease/own program for streets and sanitation departments, which the council will discuss in January.
The council also agreed Monday to postpone funding for two historic projects for consideration later next year and to reduce funding for some nonprofit groups or agencies that had requested money this year.
The council is the second body to delay funding for RSVP in the past 20 days until receiving more information. The United Way of Athens board of directors voted Nov. 28 to withhold funding, citing liability concerns found in the RSVP’s audited statements and the need for more oversight in the agency’s operation, programs and services.
City Council members had received a $10,000 request from RSVP for funding for transportation for 2012-13 but they decided to table action on RSVP as well as funding for two historic projects. However, timing appeared to be the only issue with the historic preservation projects. Mayor Council President Harold Wales said the council was withholding funding for RSVP in response to the action taken by the United Way and until the city could review the RSVP audits. The city of Athens provided $1,600 in funding for RSVP in 2012.