Brentwood officials, park nonprofit try to resolve issues
Brentwood council members and leaders of a borough-based nonprofit philanthropic group said they want to move past the rocky relationship the two entities have had during the last several months.
Members of Brentwood Council agreed Monday night to have the borough's solicitor look into issues surrounding the municipality's relationship with the Brentwood Park Initiative, a nonprofit organization comprised of Brentwood residents and alumni who worked together to help raise funds and facilitate improvements at Brentwood Park.
“It's not the borough's issue to worry about how a civic group's money is spent if it's not harming us in any way,” said Councilwoman Stephanie Fox.
Brentwood council in March agreed that Mayor Dennis Troy would send a letter to the Brentwood Park Initiative, alerting them of council's intent to suspend its relationship with the nonprofit. Borough leaders had raised concerns over the legality of fundraising done by the organization.
Council members also in March agreed to place $300,000 of borough funds into an escrow — representing the same amount the BPI had donated to the borough for phases one and two of the Brentwood Park renovations, completed in 2013. Council members later agreed that the $300,000 no longer needed to be placed in an escrow account.
All of this, likely, was a “misunderstanding” between the two parties, borough Manager George Zboyovsky said. A Brentwood Park Initiative member stated at a council meeting that the group was raising money in exchange for naming rights in the park, he said.
“That may or may not have been the case,” Zboyovsky said.
A letter sent from BPI president Frank Cappetta to Brentwood Council members in April stated that the $300,000 given to the borough came from “outright donations from residents and alumni,” as well as revenues from fundraising events the group facilitated.
Separate funds are being held by the BPI from donors, if borough council were to move forward with establishing a naming rights policy, the letter states. If council decides not to approve such a policy, the BPI would contact each donor and “determine how they wish for their individual donation to be spent,” the letter states.
No formal response was sent to the BPI from council, Zboyovsky said.
“The BPI's process this entire time has been to save taxpayer dollars, not to cost them more dollars,” BPI President Frank Cappetta said. “We just want it rectified, clarified.”
Others also said they want the situation resolved.
“This was a group of citizens who decided to take the initiative to make Brentwood better and that's where we want to go,” Councilman Robert Pasquantonio said.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.