Trackside asks selectmen for budget help

Officials of the Trackside Teen Center responded to their $25,000 budget cut from the Board of Finance by asking the Board of Selectmen on April 3 to cover them for the money.

“It’s a lot of pressure for us,” said Artie DiRocco, president of the Trackside board, who said the finance board’s expectations that they will be able to raise the missing money on their own from the community are questionable.

“We’re hoping the Board of Selectmen can find us money to offset this,” DiRocco said.

The Trackside budget was sliced from $150,000 to $125,000.

Board members told stories of how they help the teens of Wilton by giving them a place to go after school for positive activities that keep them out of trouble.

They told stories of helping one teen who was homeless, living in the woods, to get clothing and apply for a job, and how they helped another teen, a skateboarder, do well in school and go on to college.

Fund raising is workable for the teen center, but charging the teens money to participate in activities is not a good option for meeting financial needs, they said, because that could dissuade some from attending.

The teen center on Station Road offers activity rooms as well as a coffeehouse room, with a large stage, where teen musicians can entertain their young audience in a drug- and alcohol-free entertainment environment.

First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice said if at least four of the five selectmen choose to find money in the budget to cover Trackside, they can override the Board of Finance’s instructions.

Vanderslice gave the Trackside board members more time to think of an amount they need to survive this fiscal year, so a vote can be taken at a future meeting.