Council approves emergency grant for daycare

Funds will help WC Daycare cover payroll

Webster City Daycare Center was awarded a bridge grant Monday night as the City Council met in special session to discuss the center’s finances and circumstances.

Councilman and daycare board member Brian Miller told the council that he had approached City Manager Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez and Mayor John Hawkins about the funds shortage at the center.

The daycare has gone through many changes in the past year including bringing on a new director, personnel and board members. Child Care Resource and Referral officials have been working with the center to update its operations and policies and to work with the development of the staff and the board.

According to a memo from Ortiz to the council, the daycare center’s reorganization and investments in facility maintenance have begun to impact the center’s financial resiliency.

Miller confirmed that assessment.

“We’re at a place now where we won’t be able to make payroll,” Miller said. “We need help. And as a community, we can’t afford to not be open.”

Miller requested $5,000 per month to help cover the payroll and other operational costs. He said the board has approached local certified public accountant Darlene Johnson to work with the center’s financial affairs — paying bills and payroll.”

The center received some COVID funding that helped keep the business afloat for several months.

“If not for the PPE loan, we would have been having this discussion last July,” Miller told his fellow council members.

“I don’t want to be all doom and gloom, but it is what it is,” he said. “If this were a coffee shop, I’d say we’re going out of business.”

But Miller said the center was too important for children and families in the community as well as employers.

Councilman Logan Welch proposed a bridge grant of $10,000 to help the center make their payroll expenses and other incidentals.

“I don’t want to cut things too close,” Welch said.

The council will revisit the daycare financial situation at its Feb. 21 meeting. Mayor John Hawkins said he hoped the council could see more of the center’s financial data at that time before moving ahead with any long-term funding.

Following action taken at the last meeting concerning donations from the city to nonprofits, an agreement will be drawn up outlining how the funds will benefit the community.

In an unrelated matter, council accepted Miller’s resignation. As he has moved outside of the city limits, he was no longer eligible to serve on the council. His resignation is effective Feb. 8,

The council also approved an agreement with Hamilton County for the purpose of establishing an election precinct composed of incorporated and unincorporated area of the county. The first reading of the ordinance establishing the city council precincts and redistricting plan. The first reading was approved and the council waived the second and third reading and moved to pass and adopt the ordinance.


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