Urbana budget gives funding to social service groups

By Jenette Sturges

Social service organizations from around Urbana will be given funding as part of the city’s budget, following a vote on a budget amendment from the city council Monday night.

The annual budget for fiscal year 2007-08 was approved by the City Council by a unanimous vote. Some of the programs that will get funding include self defense classes for people with disabilities offered by the Urbana Park District, a summer camp for children, and the PACE senior nutrition meal program.

Danielle Chynoweth, ward 2, commented by phone that, while she was willing to pass the budget as is, she would possibly be seeking an amendment that would allot more money to the public access programs of UPTV.

“I think the budget itself is a very healthy one, and one that I can support,” Charlie Smyth, ward 1, said.

Ron Eldridge, comptroller, warned that while the budget this year seemed solid, the council should be cautious about spending as major development projects and other sources of revenue begin to slow for the city.

Also at the council meeting, resident Scott Bassett addressed the council on the creation of a neighborhood conservation district ordinance, an ordinance that would aim to encourage new construction in the city to reflect the style and architecture of other neighborhood buildings.

Basset spoke against current building practices in the city that “make our community look like a warehouse instead of single-family homes.”

Finally, Dennis Roberts, ward 5, invited Urbana residents to the eighth annual Historic East Urbana neighborhood picnic this Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. at Victory Park. The event will feature live music, a children’s art table and food, though people are encouraged to bring dishes to pass.