RIVERDALE -- The city attorney says it is illegal for the city to help fund a Communities that Care program at this time.
Weber-Morgan Human Services representatives have approached Riverdale, Washington Terrace, South Ogden and Uintah about partnering to form the program that would hire a coordinator and form a coalition of elected officials, school representatives, law enforcement officials and community members to look at substance abuse risk factors and create and implement a plan to address those factors. They expect the program to be funded by contributions from the cities, their agency, the state and federal grants.
At a prior city council meeting, county representatives said Riverdale is the only entity that has not pledged support.
City Attorney Steve Brooks said both state law and city ordinance require a public process for any charitable contribution. He said if the money is not included in the budget, a public hearing is necessary along with data that shows the program would "serve a corporate purpose" and benefit the residents of Riverdale.
"They have good intentions and good programs, but the money in our budget comes from the citizens. There needs to be an openness to our processes, whether it's for these guys or the Lakettes. We can't just give them this money without a process," Brooks said.
Mayor Bruce Burrows said Weber-Morgan Human Services has not followed up with the city's request for information about how the program has benefited other cities and how it is different from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program already in place at the schools.
"We want to know how it is more, better, or different than what we're already doing," Burrows said.
Washington Terrace City Councilwoman Mary Johnston reported at her city council meeting that Weber-Morgan Human Services is asking Washington Terrace for $2,500 and will ask the council to approve an interlocal agreement in January.