Potsdam town officials approve new policy on funding for community organizations, clubs
BY ADAM ATKINSON
North Country This Week
POTSDAM — The town board has passed a new policy on how the municipality will fund various community organizations and clubs.
At its meeting Tuesday, June 14, the council members adopted the recommendations of the town’s ad hoc committee which was appointed to look at the issue earlier this spring.Board members had mulled ways to determine how active a club was and how current the leadership contacts were before funding them, either for new requests or for clubs which had been traditionally funded. And, there were concerns over the transparency of the funding between the organizations, the town and the taxpayers providing the funding when it came to the annual budget process.
The town funds about 20 community organizations, distributing $488,475 to these groups in 2022 alone. Organizations like senior citizens clubs, volunteer fire departments and EMS groups, veterans groups, animal shelters and recreational organizations are often funded by the town.
Earlier this spring, leadership of one of these organizations, the Debra Drive seniors group confronted the board after they were denied their usual funding allotment from the town.
Town Supervisor Ann Carvill said at that meeting that the funding had been denied because the group no longer met at the Debra Drive senior housing complex and instead had relocated to Mayfield Apartments. The group at the time contested the denial.
The town supervisor said the ad hoc committee was working on a new process whereby community groups could request funding so that the town could ensure accountability if the groups changed or were no longer active.
The board approved those recommendations at the June 14 meeting.
The recommendations require that all clubs or groups need to respond to a budget letter sent by the supervisor each year in August. If there is no response, the town will not provide funding. The response to the supervisor letter must include names and contact information for club leadership, a copy of the club’s bylaws and a mission statement, a brief description of the prior year’s activities, list of other funding sources, amount requested and any increases requested with justification.
The committee also recommended that each club or group be invited to present their funding request changes to the town at a board meeting.
The town is expected to implement the new process in the 2023 budget cycle.