Tyrone YMCA secures loan to pay remaining tax deficit

The final piece of the Tyrone YMCA financial problem puzzle was put into place yesterday as Executive Director Amy Hampton mailed a $40,318.02 check to the Internal Revenue Service.
“We’re by no means out of the woods yet,” said Hampton. “But we’re well on our way. This was an important step in bringing this YMCA to where we want it to be.”
The trouble began last July when Hampton learned through the organization’s then accountant revealed the Y failed to pay its share of local, state and federal income taxes. The reasons for the non-payment, which totaled more than $60,000, are still unknown, but regardless, YMCA officials have begun to pull themselves out of the hole.
The funds came by means of a low-interest loan secured through a local banking establishment. This loan was consolidated with two existing loans and will be paid back over the next 15 years.
“We’re hopeful that we can have it paid off well before then,” said Hampton. “Maybe in five years or so.”
With the payment, Hampton noted that all monies owed to the state are now re-paid.
The YMCA also received positive news yesterday in the form of a letter from the state Department of Revenue. That letter, over the signature of District Administrator John Gressler, stated the commonwealth has agreed to abate $11,563.50 owed to the state.
“We were very happy to receive this letter,” said Hampton. “Now, we’re showing a big zero in the amount we owe the state. It’s two positives in one week. We’re now officially complete with all the local and state money that we owe.”
The only thing left to pay now is local taxes, which amounts to between $6,000 and $8,000.
“We’re confident that through local and private donations, we have enough to take care of this also,” said Hampton.
Hampton said the re-paying of such a large debt so quickly should show the YMCA members and the community how dedicated the current board of directors and YMCA employees are to the organization.
“We’ve shown time and time again that we’re going to make this YMCA the center of this community and it really needs to be,” said Hampton.
Also, provisions have been made to make sure these kinds of mistakes will not happen again.
“The board has taken a very pro-active role to assure there will not be a repeat of this incident,” said Hampton. “We’ve updated our Constitution and by-laws and put together a good system of checks and balances so we’ll be on top of issues like this at all times.”
Hampton also said she hopes the community now realizes the money that will be raised during the upcoming annual fund drive will be used for operational costs of the organization and not be used to correct errors made by past officials.
This year’s drive, which is set to begin in February, will be somewhat different from drives in years past – drives that didn’t reach the organization’s goals.
“We thought we would do a little something different this year,” said Hampton. “Our goal of $30,000 is the same as last year, but the approach is going to change.”
According to Hampton, about 40 volunteers have assembled and placed themselves into groups of five. Each of these volunteers are planning to speak, face-to-face, with five other people, regarding what the YMCA is and how important it is to the community.
“Last year, we didn’t meet our goal,” said Hampton. “We used mailings and phone calls to work the drive, but we think the idea this year will be to go and physically speak to the people and let them really know what we’re about and what we’re trying to do. People will see how committed we are to this organization and the only way we can show that is to be there in person.”
Currently, there are more than 700 members who enjoy the YMCA’s facility and programming schedule, and if things go as planned, more members will be joining in coming weeks.
“We’re definitely going to make a push for more members in January and February,” said Hampton. “We’re offering new members the opportunity to get 25 percent off a one-year membership.”
According to Hampton, the goal is just to get people through the door. She believes those who tour the facility would see the value of a membership and be inclined to join. Tours are free and those who think they may be interested in a membership, can apply for a two-week trial pass that will allow them to use YMCA facilities and involve themselves in programs for two weeks, all free of charge.
“We have tons of programs that are ongoing now and expect to begin seven new programs in the spring and summer,” said Hampton. “A big misconception is that the YMCA is a ‘kid’s place,’ but that’s just not the case. Many adults use the facilities right along side the younger people who come here.”
Hampton also said the YMCA and its staff are always looking into ways to improve the facility. She said comments, suggestions and ideas are always being explored.
“Our philosophy is just give it a try,” said Hampton. “Every idea is just an idea until life is breathed into it. That’s what everyone here is prepared to do.”
Anyone seeking more information is encouraged to contact the YMCA at 684-2740.