After a week delay, Council OKs $700K in crime prevention grants

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 3, 2013 

Columbus Council meets Tuesday morning for the first time in council chambers inside the new Citizens Service Center. 07/09/13

MIKE HASKEY — mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com

After learning that only $3,000 in political donations were given by involved board members, Columbus Council approved almost $700,000 in crime prevention grants today.

Crime Prevention Director Seth Brown brought the list of 10 grant applicants that had been approved by the city’s crime prevention board to council last Tuesday. But Councilor Gary Allen moved to delay the vote for a week so Brown could gather information on board members’ political donations, citing a desire for “transparency.”

Brown released his findings Monday, showing that only five members of the 10 boards gave money to city elected officials.

Two members of the FAST board contributed to Mayor Teresa Tomlinson’s campaign. Mike Ussery gave $1,000 and Carl Brown gave $250. Sam Mitchell of SAMARC also gave Tomlinson’s campaign $1,000. And Sally Lasseter of the Literacy Alliance gave the mayor’s campaign $250.

The only donation to a city councilor was from Becca Wiggins, who is on the Jail Ministry board and gave $500 to Councilor Judy Thomas’ campaign.

The grants, totaling $693,500, will be paid out of the Crime Prevention office budget, which council approved in June. Today’s vote was only to approve specific allocations.

The programs and the grants they were awarded are:

• Education is the Answer, Inc., $45,000.

• SAMARC, Inc., $50,000.

• Boxwood Recreation Project, $80,000.

• Columbus Technical College Non-violent Felon Employment Program, $80,000.

• Family Center of Columbus F.A.S.T. program, $87,000.

• Adult Drug Court, $75,000.

• Mental Health Court, $75,000.

• Chattahoochee Valley Jail Ministry, Inc., $41,500.

• Literacy Alliance of Columbus, $105,000.

• Neighborhood Focused on African American Youth, Inc., $55,000.

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