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April 26, 2016 - 5:08pm

Council looking for clarification on last year's resolution on funding Vibrant Batavia

posted by Howard B. Owens in Vibrant Batavia, batavia, news, business.

Whether Vibrant Batavia gets funded in 2016-17 depends on how a resolution passed a year ago by the City Council is interpreted by the City Council this year, and that decision will wait for another meeting, this year's City Council decided last night.

A year ago, the council made 2016-17 funding contingent on Vibrant Batavia securing $15,000 from another funding source, but the available language of the resolution seems unclear whether Vibrant Batavia must already have that funding in place or if the group of volunteers must have a plan in place for raising the money before the end of the fiscal year.

City Manager Jason Molino wasn't at the meeting last night and council members would like to hear from him and to review the minutes from a year ago to help with the interpretation of the resolution.

That said, it's a resolution, so it isn't binding. If there are five votes against Vibrant Batavia, the meaning of the resolution could be moot.

When Council President Eugene Jankowski asked council members to vote on a motion to request more information from Molino, four members -- Rosemary Christian, Kathy Briggs, Al McGinnis and Paul Viele -- all voted against even getting more information before making a decision.

Councilman Brooks Hawley was not at Monday's meeting, but it's not clear that other council members would support Vibrant Batavia if came down to a binding vote.

McGinnis likened Vibrant Batavia to socialism. He thinks the government shouldn't take the initiative on what private citizens should do.

Rosemary Christian said she was promised years ago that a spray park would be built on the Southside and she wonders whatever happened to that idea, and there are sidewalks that need repaired and police cameras that should be purchased.

"We need other things more than we need Vibrant Batavia, no ifs, ands and buts about it," she said.

Jankowski said everybody agrees that Vibrant Batavia has done good work over the past three years.

"There's no debate about it," Jankowski said. "The debate is on how to fund it. That's where the split is."

While the motion failed on the 4-4 vote, it really only takes one council member to request an item be placed on a conference agenda (it takes majority approval to place an item on a business agenda), so the council will be able to take up the issue again at the next conference meeting that Molino is able to attend.

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