Gretna, Havana clubs nixed

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By Alice Du Pont

Bleak financial predictions have become a reality for the Boys & Girls Clubs planned for Havana and Gretna and both are facing a combined $150,000 cut in operating funds for at least a year. The funding for these two clubs will be revisited when the county has a clearer financial picture.

The Quincy and Chattahoochee clubs, at $75,000 each for operations, are safe.

During their Tuesday night meeting, Gadsden County commissioners also voted to return $414,000 to the surtax fund that had been earmarked to construct a new Boys & Girls Club building off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, behind the old Gadsden Nursing Home.

The $150,000 saved this year by postponing the Gretna and Havana clubs will go back into the general fund. The 4.4 acres bought for the club at $122,000 will be put up for sale or exchanged for other county property.

The vote will put $564,000 back into the county's budget. However, $8,530 has already been spent on architectural drawings for the building.

In other business, commissioners:

• Voted to form a nonprofit organization that will operate the senior citizens center with financial oversight from the county's finance and budget department. Vivian Howard, who has been monitoring the center for the county since March, said the center is $103,301 behind in paying its bills.

The center's account is down to $4,000 and they are unable to make payroll. Howard has already had to make two withdrawals of $25,000 and $21,000 from the center's $50,000 allocation from the county for the 2009 fiscal year.

Commissioner Sherrie Taylor was appointed the commission's liaison to the center. She said she looked forward to the challenge.

• Commissioners voted not to approve the minutes of the Nov. 10 special meeting, calling it an illegal meeting. It was during that meeting that the commission voted to approve the Ajax Construction Company's bid of $9.75 million to renovate the hospital.

• Approved the contract for Interim County manager Bud Palmer. Under the terms of the contract he been hired to work not more than 120 days and assist the county in finding a permanent county manager. He will be paid $5,000 per month with no benefits.

• Approved the county's Comprehensive Emergency Plan with the provision to set a workshop to fine-tune the plan.