City council discussing abolishing the youth commission

City council discussing abolishing the youth commission
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Toledo City Council members are considering an ordinance from the Mayor's office that would abolish the youth commission along with the board of community relations.

This would then move the youth commission under the parks and recreation department.

A meeting lasting almost three hours Tuesday night allowed neighbors to voice their concerns about the possible change.

"The youth commission is already underfunded, and I think this is the injustice to the youth, and an injustice to the director, said Rosalinda Contreraz-Harris at the meeting Tuesday.

One of the many animated neighbors sharing their opinion is Rosalinda Contreraz-Harris. She believes the youth commission isn't as impactful as it could be right now.

But, she thinks it could be solved with some attention and resources.

"We have the gun violence, we have the murders, the bullying, the suicides, the pregnancies, we have so many issues here that are absolutely plaguing our community and parks is not going to solve those issues," said Contreraz-Harris.

The Mayor's office is adamant in saying, this doesn't mean they aren't putting an emphasis on our youth or community relations.

"In order to create and develop something we hope will be better, we have to first abolish what currently exists," said Gretchen DeBacker, legislative director for the Mayor.

The hope with the human relations commission would be improve what the community relations board does now and strengthen the impact.

From the City of Toledo's website:

"Funding for the Youth Commission executive director salary, which is $62,703 in the proposed 2018 budget, would be shifted to the department of public service. That position is currently filled by Alicia Smith. Ms. Smith would become the manager of youth and recreation and work closely with the manager of parks and forestry, under Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz's proposal to council"

As neighbors got more clarification, some were not opposed to the idea.

"We need something new, I gr ant you that, and I am not opposed to anything new, just make it better than what it was," said Olivia Holden, speaking at the meeting.

When Holden heard the word abolishing, it startled her. But, after listening to what exactly would happen she thinks this could bring new energy.

"That's an entity that should be a well live and living, only because it makes a difference," said Holden.

The Human Relations Commission would be made up of 13 members, plus one member from city council.

The idea is issues would be brought to the members, and they would work for solutions.

The ordinance remains in committee with Toledo City Council, and needs approval from council as a whole before it is enacted.

More information about the proposed change can be found here.

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