Should Park Ridge tax dollars fund human services?
Updated: October 7, 2012 6:09AM
PARK RIDGE — A Park Ridge alderman said voters should have a say in whether the city provides funding to community organizations that meet various residents’ needs.
First Ward Alderman Joe Sweeney recommended that a referendum appear on the April 2013 ballot asking if the city should “allocate in its annual budget $250,000 for contributions to private, community organizations.” Sweeney said the $250,000 amount is just a suggestion at this point and that the exact language of the referendum — including the types of organizations that would qualify — would need to be hammered out during the next few months.
“If we put it on (the ballot), let the voters tell us what they want,” Sweeney told the City Council on Aug. 27.
Sweeney’s proposal came as the council was again asked to consider changes to or elimination of the city’s policy statement on contributions to private, non-governmental organizations. In the past the city provided funding to cultural-arts groups and social services. This year, after years of reductions, funding was eliminated to all such groups, including human-services organization Center of Concern, following budget discussions and a successful mayoral veto.
Mayor David Schmidt, who has opposed city contributions to outside groups, told aldermen that if they do decide to go to the voters the question should explain how the funding will be paid for: by cutting services or raising taxes.
“Be sure to put that in the referendum,” Schmidt said.
Seventh Ward Alderman Marty Maloney said he would prefer the question appear on the November election ballot when he expects there will be a larger voter turnout, but City Clerk Betty Henneman said the deadline for submitting referendums had already passed.
Fourth Ward Alderman Sal Raspanti indicated that he would like to see the City Council discuss the funding of human-needs services and the extent of that funding.
“There are services I think our city should be providing to residents. I would look forward to a discussion about those types of services,” he said.~.