City approves $30,000 for mentoring program
A mentoring program received a $30,000 commitment from city supervisors Thursday, although two supervisors questioned funding the program between budget sessions.
None of the supervisors opposed the concept of a mentor center, but supervisors Kay Bennett and Pete Livermore argued against giving the test program funding for two years.
“We’re getting indications that our budget this year will be tight,” Bennett said. “I’m reluctant to make more than a $15,000 commitment today. This needs to be on a level playing field with all other requests.
“We’ve been at this point with other worthwhile causes. I know that if we allocate the full amount today, two weeks from now another very worthy entity will be before us asking for an allocation as well. We need to respect the budget process.”
Spearheaded by the Community Council on Youth and The Mentoring 2000 Task Force of the Carson City and Douglas County Leadership Alumni, residents in October started looking for community support to start the program.
Ron Kendall, Mentoring 2000 Task Force chairman, said the program needs about $150,000 to start. The Leadership Alumni asked Carson-Tahoe Hospital, Carson City, the Carson City School Board and Western Nevada Community College to give $15,000 a year for two years.
Carson supervisors were the last stop for supporters. Other agencies’ support was contingent on support from city supervisors.
Money for the program came from the city’s dwindling contingency fund, which drops from $112,000 to $82,000 with the mentor funding.
Supervisor Jon Plank suggested supervisors commit to funding the second year’s allotment from next year’s budget in case the contingency fund is depleted.
Mayor Ray Masayko agreed, saying he would prefer to make a two- year commitment.
“My thought is if you only get one year, you’ll be here the next year,” Masayko said. “This way it’s done, it’s over with and that’s our commitment.”
Livermore voted for the proposal as a hospital trustee but said the hospital doesn’t have a yearly opportunity to review community funding needs. He supports the program but said other programs weren’t guaranteed two years of funding, and he didn’t want to make an exception.
Supervisor Robin Williamson said the program was an exciting beginning for the community and worth the expense.
“We can’t be so rigid in our procedures that we deny the excitement of new ideas,” Williamson said. “If this is something our community has supported across the board, there should be a mechanism to respond to that. When push comes to shove, we find monies.”
Williamson asked that the mentoring program not focus solely on at-risk youths.
“Hopefully, in referring children into the program you’ll take into account that there is the average child that needs a little help too,” Williamson said. “My main concern is the wide majority of children who are never recognized for anything. Those are the children I think are crying for individual attention.”
The mentoring program will be run under the supervision of the Community Council on Youth. The council received a $90,400 grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in October. About $45,000 is earmarked for a mentoring program.
The program should have a director by April. Kendall said more than 50 mentors have been recruited for the program.