Community Connectors requests financial assistance from city council; local organizations likely to donateWORTHINGTON — A request for financial assistance from the Community Connectors program dominated discussion at Monday night’s Worthington City Council meeting.
By: Ryan McGaughey, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — A request for financial assistance from the Community Connectors program dominated discussion at Monday night’s Worthington City Council meeting.
Jerry Fiola, District 518’s Community Education director, spoke to council members on behalf of Community Connectors, offering a historical overview of the program and discussing past and future budgets.
Fiola recalled that the February 1991 formation of Worthington’s Cultural Diversity Coalition — for which then-mayor Robert J. Demuth was one of the catalysts — led to the establishment of Community Connectors two years later. The program, which is designed to help new residents make a successful transition into Worthington, was initially funded by small grants, Fiola explained, but services continued to expand as more minority families moved into Worthington.
By February 1997, Fiola said, Family Connections had become the primary financial supporter of Community Connectors, providing up to $59,000 annually. However, funding cuts — and in some cases declining populations — have resulted in service reductions, and the current Community Connectors budget is $52,000.
Fiola said he was well aware that the City of Worthington’s budget was already established for the upcoming year.
“We’re probably good for another half year or so,” he said, adding that options such as user fees, fundraisers and contracting with agencies are also being discussed.
Fiola said he has also contacted various community organizations, as well as Swift & Co., about potentially offering financial assistance to Community Connectors. In addition to Family Connections providing $23,000 in support of the current budget, the Worthington Area United Way has also offered $12,000.
Fiola also shared data detailing census trends over the past 16 years for different ethnic segments of Worthington’s population.
In other business, the council:
* Authorized notification to Smith Trucking that the City intends to terminate its lease with the company with its expiration on April 11, 2009. Smith Trucking leases multiple structures on the former Campbell Soup Co. property, on which demolition is planned.
Council members, along with Mayor Alan Oberloh, stated that shorter lease agreements could come about with the expiration of the current lease, with month-to-month agreements a possibility should Smith Trucking be interested.
* Approved a contract renewal for welfare fraud investigations between the Worthington Police Department and Nobles County Family Services.
Fraud investigation services will be at a rate of $39.44 per hour. Other items that will be reimbursed include mileage, long-distance calls related for investigations, office supplies, and approved training expenses and per diem expenses.
* Approved a resolution receiving a feasibility report for the improvement of 27th Street from U.S. 59 to 2,570 feet west, and orders a public hearing on the proposed project for the council meeting on Feb. 11.
* Awarded a bid of $3,250 to Zieske Land Surveying, Windom, for services pertaining to properties the city has acquired for redevelopment purposes.