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Board approves Leisure Lifestyle budget

Lynn Wilkins who would look for more state and federal funds avail- able for senior programs and asking the city of Oxford and Lafayette County to increase their annual contribution of $5,000 each.

A funding committee is also being formed to research grants and put- ting together a foundation where people could donate and get a tax break.

The commission agreed to table requiring participants to pay $5 a month until August when they will re-examine the efforts of increasing the revenue for the program.

“We’re aware the money from the parking wouldn’t be included at that time, but we could get an idea of additional grants and fund- raisers,” said Commissioner Marvin King. “If all these options raise sufficient funds, then we don’t need to charge a $5 fee.”

Chairman Don Frugé Jr. said he was glad to finally see some options in funding the program and thanked Gaines and Helms for putting it together.

Since its inception about four years ago, Leisure Lifestyles, the senior citizen program run by the Oxford Park Commission has been largely funded through athletic fees.

About a year ago, the commission began looking for ways to fund the program that runs about $45,000 a year. One of the suggestions was to charge participants $5 a month; however, Director Deb Helms said she was concerned some of her participants wouldn’t be able to afford to come since many live on fixed income through Social Security.

Last month, the commission instructed Helms to provide them with some alternative funding mechanisms; otherwise the $5 fee would be implemented.

On Tuesday, new OPC Director Seth Gaines presented the LL’s budget along with several suggestions on how to bring in revenue for the popular program that serves more than 600 people.

The main money-making idea would be to charge people to park at the Oxford Activity Center when the University of Mississippi Rebels football team has a home game. The plan would be to sell 200 spots per game charging $15 for nonconference games and $20 for SEC games. The total income would be an estimated $24,460 for all home games starting next football season.

Another suggestion came from one of the program’s participants.

“She called it a ‘Pay it Forward’ box,” Gaines said. “We would place boxes at the activity center and those who wish, can donate $5 or more each month, giving people the option to support the program without singling anyone out.”

Other ideas include three T-shirt campaigns a year with an estimated revenue of about $3,600; special events and fundraisers throughout the year; working with grant writer Lynn Wilkins who would look for more state and federal funds available for senior programs and asking the city of Oxford and Lafayette County to increase their annual contribution of $5,000 each.

A funding committee is also being formed to research grants and putting together a foundation where people could donate and get a tax break.

The commission agreed to table requiring participants to pay $5 a month until August when they will re-examine the efforts of increasing the revenue for the program.

“We’re aware the money from the parking wouldn’t be included at that time, but we could get an idea of additional grants and fund- raisers,” said Commissioner Marvin King. “If all these options raise sufficient funds, then we don’t need to charge a $5 fee.”

Chairman Don Frugé Jr. said he was glad to finally see some options in funding the program and thanked Gaines and Helms for putting it together.