Davenport City Leaders Debate Putnam Funding - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport City Leaders Debate Putnam Funding

Updated: June 19, 2013 10:34 PM
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How much help should a city give its non-profits? It's something Davenport Aldermen must decide. And it's something they had a heated debate about Wednesday night, coming down on both sides of whether the City should give the Putnam 150 thousand dollars.

While many support the museum, this isn't the first time they've supported it financially. "We're crossing over a slippery slope here," Aldermen Bill Boom says about the request, and what it could mean for the future. Alderman Ray Ambrose, also concerned, saying "I think it's bad policy to amend this budget at this time, knowing the financial condition the city is in."

But Alderman Gene Meeker says, "To me, it's a vote by this council in support of the Putnam Museum. Do we want to continue this for your children, your grandchildren, my grandchildren, or do we want to be part of a real financial problem organization is having?"

But some say helping this organization could cause more problems down the road. The Putnam is now asking for 150 thousand dollars to help with operations costs. Not the first time administrators have come to the council. "We gave them 100 thousand this year," Alderman Mike Matson says. "We already did that, so let's not be confused, in the years before we have. I agree we don't want to lose the Putnam either, but we have given them 100 thousand this year."

That 100 thousand, to help renovate the museum for STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programs. But this would be the first time funds would go to operations. Alderman Bill Edmond addressed the council and chambers, saying "Yes, it's been said, this is the only time the Putnam's asking for money. That's not quite true, they seem to come to us every year for money."

"If we say yes to the Putnam or no to the Putnam," Alderman Jason Gordon says, "The problem is going to exist next year. We're gonna have a bigger problem to deal with in the next year, and in two and three years." And he says, not just with the Putnam. Funding is an issue city leaders really have to examine closely for all non-profits. Less money is coming in from the state, and more groups need help. Gordon says, "We're going to have to turn this around, because we're playing Whac-a-Mole with the holes and moles expanding, and our arm is not long enough to whack all those moles at this point."

Council members will discuss this, and a handful of other funding issues, again next Wednesday.