Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Columbia County Commission News

Pop Warner Football scores a $10,000 touchdown as County funds tighten

With budgetary woes facing county governments across the state and the nation, this past Thursday evening, the County Commission decided to fund Pop Warner football for 2010 and 2011 with old county money. After Pastor Alvin Baker's spirited appeal to the Commission, the Commissioners, without a scintilla of financial material from the requesting Richardson Community Center – Annie Mattox Park North, Inc., voted to give the group $10,000.

Pastor Baker, who represented the newly formed nonprofit Richardson Community Center – Annie Mattox Park North, Inc., after a few mandatory platitudes, got down to business.

He told the Commission, "Our original request was for $5000. This was from year end close out dollars."

Some members of Pastor Baker's Board listened as he spoke.

He said that after making that request he felt assured that not only would he get the $5000, but that he would get $5000 every year after that.

Pastor Baker spoke a little bit about past finances: "Last year the Pop Warner football program incurred debt because the group thought that they were going to have the County funds available. They satisfied those debts... Next season is going to be a struggle without the funding."

Pastor Baker told the Commissioners that he viewed the Pop Warner program as an intervention program. "Intervention dollars versus detention dollars are dollars well spent," he said.

Click the image to learn more about Pop Warner.

Pastor Baker was looking to acquire the original $5000 from 2010, plus the first in an annual payment of $5,000. As is the practice in Columbia County, no financial data or budgets were presented to the Commission for their consideration, however, Pastor Baker did bring some pictures of kids playing football.

Commissioner Dupree asked, "Pop Warner is the only football league for the 5 to 7 year olds?"

Pastor Baker: "Yes -- no, it is the only tackle league."

Pastor Baker: "We're looking at ways to get involved with our young kids, so that years from now parents and coaches can say that we had an impact on their lives."

Commissioner Ronald Williams: "It has always been one of the goals of this board to help all youth activities. I move that we grant the $10,000, and a sense, that we owe Pop Warner."

Commissioner DePratter inquired of the County Manager: "What are the levels that we fund other youth organizations. Do you have that?"

County Manger Dale Williams did not.

County Manager Williams said, "The County funds participatory sports on a per capita basis. The County is presently not contributing any funds to Pop Warner."

CM Williams asked about the status of the community center.

CM Williams: "You all are a 501-3C. Is that correct?"

Pastor Baker answered: "We are incorporated and we are now an official 501-C3 organization and Mr. Powell, in filing that request for us - when it was approved - it was backdated - the approval was backdated to the day that we got incorporated."

Dale Williams: "We still have to make sure the paperwork is right."

The Observer was sitting only a few feet from the Clerk, who prepares the minutes, when Commissioner DuPree again demonstrated why he is rated as one of the worst County Commissioners in the history of Columbia County and Florida.

Commissioner DuPree did not ask the Clerk if she had heard Pastor Baker's answer.

Instead, Com DuPree in his continuing effort to sanitize the Board minutes, said, "For the sake of the minutes I am certain that none of what Rev. Baker just said was recorded, so in essence whatever you will need that he just commented on we'll insure that  ~unintelligible~."

The Commission voted to approve the $10,000 tax payer funded contribution to Richardson Community Center – Annie Mattox Park North, Inc., for Pop Warner Football, with no guarantee that there will be money available in the future.

Photo Credit: Pop Warner Football.

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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