Pachyderm President Offers Better Use of Civic Funds
Following a resolution passed by the Sedalia City Council Aug. 21 to spend $40,000 in matching funds if the Sedalia Lions Club raises another $40,000 to place the City's logo twice on the water tower located just north of West 16th Street on Water Tower Road, the Pettis County Pachyderms Club listened to a proposal from Club President Kevin Lujin last Friday.
Lujin asked to “take a step outside its normal role” and pass its own resolution Sept. 8 to agree to “a good use of civic money” to support families going through cancer treatment by helping pay for travel and gas expenses.
A non-profit was set up earlier this month by Nikki Lyon Brown to assist families in this way. It's called Coen's Way, named after Coen Brown, who lost his life to DSRCT cancer earlier this year. Coen was the son of Nikki and Matt Brown. Matt is the head men's basketball coach at SFCC.
According to Lujin, Nikki spent 56 days in a hotel located across the street from Barne's Jewish Hospital where her son Coen spent the remaining days of his life.
“She missed her son Cade's graduation, and the amount of money and time that family and their friends had to spend, raising money, that took time away from other things that they could have been doing. I constantly see all these people having auctions in town, because somebody who has cancer. To me, the last thing you should have to do, if this happens to you, is have to become an auction organizer,” an emotional Lujin said.
“I'm going to ask the club to consider this, because I think this need to be discussed, and I think this could do a better job of fostering a better community than the $40,000 from the City and the $40,000 from the clubs to go to putting a logo on a water tower,” Lujin said.
“Now I think $80,000, though it may not be a huge percentage of the City's budget, I think, still, that's a lot of money. And there's a lot of good that could do elsewhere,” Lujin said during his presentation last Friday at the Heckart Center, 1800 W. 3rd, where the Pachyderm Club meets weekly.
An alternative idea that was used previously in Sedalia was to place four welcome to Sedalia signs on Highways 50 & 65 that feature various Sedalia civic clubs' logos.
“Now it's not at water tower level, but let's look at what we used to have (in 1948) for signage in this area. It would be less expensive and it would show the active clubs in this area who play such a big role in helping out,” he noted.
“So if the City's looking to improve civic engagement, I would suggest looking to maybe spend some money on this. It's going to be considerably less expensive, and can free up those dollars for the other people who are in need in this community,” Lujin explained.
Pachyderm member Tony Monsees offered his opinion that the $80,000 cost for two water tower logos is "way exorbitant."
Lujin added that he will invite John Meehan to the Sept. 8 Pachyderm meeting.
"The Club would be honored if at least one Council Member who supported this resolution, one Council Member who opposed this resolution, and Mr. Meehan would be willing to speak for up to five minutes as part of a panel on this matter. Due to time constraints, we will need to limit the panel to no more than four City Council members and those responding first about their interest in being part of the panel will be given priority," Lujin said in an email.
"I am copying Mayor Andrew Dawson and Pettis County Pachyderm Club Vice-President Frank Higgins, Club Treasurer Christopher Woolery, and Club Secretary Vaughn Heart on this email for awareness.
"I am copying Sedalia Lions Club President Evan Fluty, Sedalia Rotary Club President Darren Grove, Sedalia Kiwanis Club President Tom Van Leer, the Sedalia Optimist Club, and the Sedalia Business Women of Missouri so they can share information on this program in the hopes their Club members are able to attend and share their perspective on forum topic."