Memphis City Council to Cut Family Rewards Program

Posted on: 3:41 pm, June 6, 2012, by , updated on: 05:27pm, June 6, 2012

(MEMPHIS) Memphis City Council had to put several programs on the chopping block to overcome a $47 million budget deficit.

One of those programs brought to the forefront is the Family Rewards program which pays thousands to select teens who go to school and get good grades and parents who hold down jobs and take care of their kids.

City council agreed the Family Rewards Program is waste of tax payer money and it will officially be slashed by the city next week when council approves next year’s budget.

The Family Rewards program is partially funded by your tax payer dollars. City Council says last year the program spent over a million dollars, but most of that to the tune of$ 900,000 was spent on administrative overhead. Only $93,000 went to the families that met criteria like holding down jobs, going to school, and taking their children to the doctor.

Councilman Jim Strickland spearheaded the initiative to remove the Family Rewards Program and says after spending all that money only a few hundred families benefit from it.

“That`s very inefficient and it`s not a core government service. It`s not a core government service to pay people to take their kids to the doctor,” said Strickland.

Of the overhead costs most went to salaries along with outside contracts to agencies that would monitor the program.

“It`s getting hard out here so any help that we can get would be good,” said Brandi Terrell.

Terrell thinks the city needs a program like Family Rewards.

“Just to get the money to help the kids and the families and stuff that would help out a lot. It would take a lot of the pressure off and the stress,” said Terrell.

Seedco runs the program and say they believe they have the support in the community to keep the program running on private and other outside funding. Seedco also disagrees with the council’s findings and says they estimate they will give over $400,000 to families in Memphis this year. So far Memphis families have earned over $250,000.

“Some people think we can`t lay off anybody, but we`re coming out of a recession and private companies are having to lay off people all the time. But if you want to shrink city government, frankly you have to lay off people,” said Strickland.

This budget plan and cut of the Family Rewards program will not be finalized until the budget is approved at next week’s meeting.