Culver Town Council President Bill Githens took advantage during the Council Issues, Actions, Items portion of Tuesday evening’s meeting to bring up Blue Zones.
Githens said, “I want to talk a little bit about next year’s budget and the things we’ve got in the budget, but not on line items, it has to do with Blue Zones.” He continued, “I personally am against Blue Zones. I don’t see the benefit of it.”
Githens said there is $25,000 in the budget in 2023 and another $25,000 in 2024 and 2025 to meet their $75,000 public match commitment.
Githens said there are some budget constraints next year and he feels that $25,000 could be better spent next year on salaries for town employees. He said, “Our employee retention is virtually job number one and at the top of my list.” Githens continued, “Next year, in mid-year if we have the ability to give some mid-year increases in certain departments for certain people, I would use that $25,000 for that purpose.” He then asked for a motion to rescind the appropriation.
Culver Town Council members Sally Ricciardi said, “I hate to see us give up on a good program even before we even start it.” Githens responded, “We don’t even know what the program is. That’s the problem. We don’t know what’s going to be coming down the pike. That’s putting money out and betting on the come. We’ve got better uses for our monies.”
Councilman Bill Cleavenger said he was concerned about the front-end load of the administrative costs of the program. “I think it’s a lot of money and I think we can use our $25,000 better to benefit our employees.”
Bill Hamm said agreed with Cleavenger’s comments. He said, “For nothing to be there, just welfare of help and nothing behind. It seems like we are committing something that’s air.”
Githens chimed in, “People are going to do what they want to do to protect their health.”
Githens then called for a motion. Bill Cleavenger made the motion to rescind the $25,000 for Blue Zones in the 2023 budget and Bill Hamm seconded the motion. The vote was 3 to 2 with Sally Ricciardi and Rich West voting NO.