Strategic Investment In Our Community Makes Lewiston Better
Eliminating wasteful spending is crucial for holding down taxes and earning the trust of Lewiston residents. But, sometimes, additional spending, in the form of strategic investments, is crucial for making our community better. Particularly when funding to get something off the ground could not otherwise be obtained.
The Youth Resource Center offers a perfect example. YRC serves at - risk teens between the ages of 12 - 17 and works closely with the Lewiston Police Department, Child Protective Services, and the other entities to provide a safe place and supportive services.
What got YRC off the ground last year was a $150,000 investment by the City of Lewiston utilizing federal monies in the form of Community Development Block Grant funds that served as a down payment on the building to the owners of the estate. This investment cost nothing to the local taxpayers of our fair city and helped the Center work to find other funding to pay off the remaining amount.
Not every strategic investment makes sense but examples such as the YRC showcase why. For nonprofit organizations, funders like to support established entities which has the downside of making establishing new social services more difficult. Despite knowing the need existed for years, it took smart, strategic governance to make it a reality and it can serve as a model for future investment.
Strategic investment also makes sense in the form of replacing older piping in downtown Lewiston utilizing CARES Act funding. While I am not a fan of the additional debt the cost of the bill creates, the money should be spent wisely and appropriately by City and elected officials to provide the maximum benefit for future generations.
Similarly, while utilizing Relief Act funding, the city opened up a grant program open to small businesses and nonprofits which helped offset some of their operating costs. This allowed these organizations to continue to operate and provide key services to the community and customers.
Specific to CARES Act funding, the city is set to receive a full $5.4 million which needs to be spent by 2024. Imagine what even a fraction of these funds spent on providing strategic investment on the health and social needs of our organization could mean. Specifically, supporting organizations addressing at - risk youth, hunger, homelessness and the like?
I believe it is important to end this article with an important distinction because I can see strategic investment getting confused with wasteful or continual spending. Strategic investment is usually one - time funding (from different sources) providing financial support to key organizations or businesses in the community which otherwise would not have access to such funding (ie. Youth Resource Center). It also is the City addressing crucial needs which either cannot wait or the City cannot levy funds for without burdening taxpayers (ie. replacing piping in the downtown corridor).
Lewiston needs leaders who understand this distinction, who see the differences and are willing to make those investments in our community. Lewiston will be stronger for it. If you would like to learn more about my campaign, donate or volunteer please go to www.gabeforcouncil.net. Thank you!