Perryville Outreach Program

PERRYVILLE — With another round of changes issued by Gov. Larry Hogan that force businesses to reduce hours and capacity the mayor and commissioners decided Tuesday to delay giving seed money to the new non-profit formed to support the Perryville Outreach Program.

Like other towns Perryville has made cuts and reductions to survive the loss of revenue in April when the pandemic struck. At that time retail businesses were shut down including Hollywood Casino on Chesapeake Overlook Parkway. The casino typically contributes $120,000 each month to the town. Even though it has since been allowed to re-open the contributions are not up to that level.

Danielle Hemling, director of the program for school aged children, which was designed to be an after school and summer camp program, established a “Friends of the Perryville Outreach Foundation” non-profit arm to allow for more grant awards. Under the auspices of the Perryville Police Department the OP itself cannot apply for many grant programs. However the non-profit can.

At the Perryville work session, Hemling told the mayor and commissioners that the first meeting of the board of directors went well.

“Everyone we picked had something to bring to the table,” Hemling said.

However, since this is ground-level, Denise Breder, town administrator, asked the elected body to consider giving the foundation seed money to help with such things as the cost of its domain and website, postage and other start-up costs.

“Danielle has done a fantastic job of getting grant money for the outreach program,” Breder said. Most recently the OP won an almost $70,000 grant that would help hire paid part-time staff and purchase Chromebooks. She is awaiting word for another grant worth $20,000.

However those funds cannot help with the start-up.

“I honestly feel they’re going to need this because of the recurring fees,” said Perryville Commissioner Christine Aldridge, who is also the board representative to the foundation. She suggested the gift be larger than the $5,450 figure brought to the board.

However Commissioner Michelle Linkey reminded the board of the restrictions put in place last spring.

“While this is a worthwhile program should we step back for now because of COVID?” Linkey said. “I do believe Comm. Aldridge is correct that they’ll need more ... but it’s against our policy.”

Commissioner Robert Taylor suggested, and Commissioner Tim Snelling agreed that the proposition be postponed until January.

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