By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
FONDA -- Rather than use the taxpayer-funded vehicle budgeted for him, Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort has authorized the money to go to the county Youth Bureau.
The county Public Safety Committee moved a resolution Tuesday to transfer $5,000 in the budget to the Youth Bureau, which will use it to purchase computers for the Wishful Thinking homework program.
"Every year, the county gives [the bureau] money to do outreach, and invest locally in programs," Ossenfort said. "Given that I wasn't going to use taxpayer money for a car, I wanted to transfer the money over, and the Youth Bureau would decide where they want to use it."
Ossenfort said the Youth Bureau's budget has gradually been cut over the years. Currently, the bureau has a $4,000 budget.
While the $5,000 is a one-shot deal, Ossenfort said it helps fund youth programs for this year, specifically Wishful Thinking.
The Amsterdam-based organization's mission is to create leisure activities, sports leagues, and educational programs throughout the area.
"I think this will go a long way to helping some folks that really need help in the county," Ossenfort said.
Members of the committee supported Ossenfort's effort.
"It's a nice thing you are trying to do," District 8 Legislator Joseph Isabel said. "I appreciate what you are doing."
Youth Bureau Executive Director Brenda Rava said Ossenfort approached her about the funds a few weeks ago. After discussing it for some time, Rava met with the Youth Advisory Board, which decided to use the money to purchase additional computers for Wishful Thinking.
She said that while the homework program is new, it has been a success, and is starting to expand to other areas of the county. The group is also helping with other events, including the first "Youth Serving Veterans Spring Cleanup Day" which will be held April 26.
Rava said despite budget cuts from both the county and state, the department has been able to maintain its programs.
"We are still operating and do the best we can," Rava said. "We are thrilled about this additional funding."