Recently, our friends at ran this story involving a local organization who is requesting $200,000 from the city of Casper to help them get out of the red. The money they are looking for would come from the city’s optional one cent fund excess account.

While the 12/24 club is an exceptional organization, I have some doubts about the city getting involved. My doubts have nothing to do with this particular entity, but are more geared to the city setting a precedence which it would find itself hard-pressed to go against in the future. Here are my specific questions I would have about this decision:

1. What happens when another non-profit org. comes to town and wants the city to pay? If the Klu Klux Klan decides they want to be more active in the Casper area, and requests funds from the city, how could the city turn them down without being seemingly prejudiced? Once precedence is set, it's hard to be particular without the threat of a lawsuit.

2. Why help one flailing organization, without helping another? Poverty Resistance, another fine org., was recently shutdown for city code violations. If you give to one, you have to give to the other.

3. Where has the money gone? If an organization has never had any prior financial issues, and pays no rent, yet has a rough time paying their bills, shouldn't they look at their books and figure out where to cut spending? If I personally lost a source of income, I would go find another job - or a way to recoup losses - not ask other people to pay my bills. I'll admit that this is comparing apples to oranges, but the idea is the same.

4. Why are they not going through the grant process, or looking for fundraising opportunities? Most non-profits employ a Grant Writer who does nothing more than fill out paperwork and requests funds from the seemingly endless benefactors who have money set aside for these exact organizations. There are also a multitude of fundraising opportunities available, and the people of Casper have proven that they love to help out a worthy cause.

I would like to stress that I'm not calling out this particular organization. I have a hard time asking the government get involved. A public hearing regarding the request will be held at a later date, and if they decide to bailout the 12/24 club, then they can also tell them exactly how to spend that money, and have more control.

You've heard my opinion, now give me yours. Take the poll below, and we'll post the results at a later date.

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