The Town of Hotchkiss is pinching pennies, which means fewer donations are going out the door, as the Hotchkiss Booster Club and Hotchkiss Grad Night committee learned last week.
Each year, the Booster Club asks the town for a contribution for ongoing booster activities and for a second donation specifically for grad night. This year, Booster parent Ray Katzdorn asked the town for $500 for the Boosters, a portion of which would be used to place erosion barriers on the H. The Booster Club also gives out several scholarships to graduating seniors and helps Hotchkiss High School purchase items not within the school's budget, including recently a sound system. Katzdorn told the trustees that donations to the club are down this year, especially since the coal mines are not contributing.
Trustees were hesitant to dole out the cash. As town clerk Marlene Searle pointed out, the town's line item for donations has dropped significantly in recent years, from $7,000 to just $3,800 this year. "It's a difficult financial season for all of us," Mayor Wendell Koontz added.
Trustee Larry Jakubiak pointed out that the council slashed a line item for holiday bonuses for its employees, and he said he didn't feel comfortable giving $500 to the Booster Club -- though it's a worthwhile organization -- when the town can't afford to give bonuses to its valued employees.
Trustees Mary Hockenbery and Tom Wills agreed. Hockenbery pointed out that the town has already contributed financially to the H restoration project, and the town itself gives out scholarships.
Trustee John Marta was the only trustee who spoke in favor of donating the full $500 to the Booster Club. "We ought to help the schools as much as we can," he said.
Trustees approved giving the club $200. Katzdorn also asked for $150 to be used for grad night for Hotchkiss High School. The town has historically given $150 annually. The council voted to give $100 toward grad night.
As the votes were taken, Mayor Koontz told Katzdorn, "I wish it could be more."
Katzdorn replied, "That's okay. We all understand what everyone is going through."