Council approves SOC grant
By Michael Prochaska
Funds will keep System of Care running
Madison City Council unanimously voted Monday to sign a 2012 governmental grant for System of Care (SOC), an organization dedicated to improving the academic performance of young black males of Morgan County.
This marks the third and final year since its inception that the Governor’s Office of Children and Families will fund the organization. Currently, the grant is budgeted at $85,689 with a 30 percent match from SOC.
“We have $3,500 cash match already,” said SOC Administrator Velde Hardy. “We are looking to also have next year’s budget in the bank by Dec. 31.”
This year’s payment is tied to a stipulation that 96 percent of target students in grades K-5 will be absent from school less than 15 days. Hardy said this will not be a problem considering the organization strives to improve attendance and drop-out rates.
Hardy said the SOC also looks to improve student achievement in grades, attendance, behavior and family relations.
Councilmen Michael Naples and Joe DiLetto said they attended the most recent graduation ceremony and they look forward to seeing the organization stand on its own two feet in the near future.
“It’s one of those programs that target those individuals who really, at that point in their life, need that help,” said Mayor Bruce Gilbert.
In other news:
• The council unanimously approved the renewal of a Bed & Breakfast license for Reese Bourgeois Cottage.
· The council unanimously approved amending the ownership portions of a previous alcohol license by B & J Beverage and EZ Bottle Shop. The owner has asked to put the license under another man’s name, who will be acting as manager.
· The council approved a zoning request for Pulliam Eye Group, an ophthalmologist’s office to move from the Beacon Heights Shopping Center to a professional office park at 2151 Eatonton Rd. The office will serve as an eye-wear store as well as provide follow-up services for patients. All surgeries performed by the staff will occur in Covington or Gainesville. The City of Madison Zoning Ordinance defines a distinction between professional office parks and medical office parks, City Planner Bryce Jaeck said, but since the office will not be used for a clinic and will not contain hazardous supplies, the Planning Staff had no concerns.
· The Council approved a first reading of Map D of a city re-districting plan. As requested by the Justice Department, District 1 and District 3 are majority-minority districts, according to Jaeck. City attorney Joe Reitman said overall there were “very minimal changes.” The next public hearing will be held Feb. 20, 5:30 p.m. at the City Municipal Public Works building.
Printed in the February 16, 2012 edition.