Elgin council OKs riverboat grants for arts, social services

  • The majority of Elgin City Council members agreed Wednesday to award $250,000 in riverboat grants to social service agencies with another $28,000 for arts organizations.

      The majority of Elgin City Council members agreed Wednesday to award $250,000 in riverboat grants to social service agencies with another $28,000 for arts organizations. Chris Hankins | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/10/2012 1:37 PM

The majority of Elgin City Council members agreed Wednesday to award $250,000 in Riverboat grants to social service agencies with another $28,000 for arts organizations.

Councilman John Prigge was the lone dissenter voting against the grant allocation, which was meant to replace cuts in service agreements with Elgin nonprofits that took effect this year. The council had formerly funded several organizations through money collected from the Grand Victoria Casino but shrinking revenues put an end to that practice.

 

Prigge said taxpayers are mad at the council for adding new taxes and fees during the 2012 budget discussion and the grants give them one more thing to point to.

"I can't help but think that passing this in these times is going to be a very classic example of robbing Peter to pay Paul," Prigge said. "Which is a good thing if your name is Paul."

But Prigge said the list of recipients is short compared to the number of struggling Elgin residents.

Mayor David Kaptain and Councilwomen Anna Moeller and Tish Powell rejected Prigge's comparison, citing the need to support agencies providing a safety net.

Kaptain, who made the preliminary decision about funding levels with Councilman John Steffen, said the grants will allow local organizations to provide services the city doesn't anymore. He argued cuts would only cost more in the long run when groups like the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin -- set to receive $115,000 -- keep kids off the streets and help with crime intervention.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I don't look at these as gifts," Kaptain said. "I look at them as investments."

Moeller said the grants will help keep homeless people off the streets, serve the mentally ill and generally address the needs of the high-risk populations of Elgin. She said the new grant arrangement is an appropriate one, especially considering Riverboat funds have been used for social service agencies since the Grand Victoria opened.

"There's a long historical precedent for using these funds to help these organizations," Moeller said.

Thirteen organizations received money from the $250,000 grant program with another four arts groups splitting the $28,000. The Boys and Girls Club and Neighborhood Housing Services of the Fox Valley got special preference in recognition they had already factored in the city's expected contribution to their 2012 budgets.

Kaptain said next year he expects the grant program to be more competitive.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Get articles sent to your inbox.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.