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City Council dispels rumors that funding will be pulled from Sunnyside's Promise

During the last two regular meetings of the Sunnyside City Council, members of the public have spoken about the worth of Sunnyside's Promise to the community.

At last night's meeting, it became clear to the council that there is concern in the community that funding for Sunnyside's Promise will be halted and that all the programs run by the group will go away if that happens.

One speaker, a volunteer coach for Sunnyside's Promise, spoke of rumors that the city planned to sever ties with Sunnyside's Promise.

"The program is just started out," said Jose Angora, "But it works. And regardless if it's rumors or if it's true or not, I would really love the program to stay."

Council member Jim Restucci asked about the rumors, as he said he had not heard any. Deputy Mayor Don Vlieger gave a short history of the youth programs to the audience, stating that it was the council that had pushed Sunnyside's Promise to conduct the programs.

Vlieger said the impetus for the programs came from the city council, so whoever was telling people that the council didn't support the programs was incorrect.

"Whatever you're hearing, it's not true," he said.

The council restated its support for the programs, saying that if Sunnyside's Promise had not agreed to set up and run the programs the council would have found someone else to provide them.

The chair of the Sunnyside Board of Parks and Recreation, Kari Zapata, stood up to address the issue, saying that the people who were expressing concern have been misled.

"What needs to be clarified is that the city is paying for the programs and Promise is facilitating them," said Zapata. "So one way or another, we will have programs whether it's through Promise or however we have to do it. There will be programs."

Interim City Manager Frank Sweet noted that the contracts with Sunnyside's Promise run through Dec. 31, 2012. He stated that nobody is talking about taking funding away, and money will continue to be earmarked toward that end until the end of the year.

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