NAUGATUCK — As the borough works to determine what the future of Naugatuck Youth and Family Services will be, the agency presented a plan Tuesday night to seek nonprofit 501(c)3 status.
Members of the Youth and Family Services Advisory Board laid out the details before the tri-boards of Finance, Education and Mayor and Burgesses.
Board Treasurer John Roman said the change could save the borough about $75,000 a year over the next three fiscal years. He said the savings would primarily derive from the agency, which is currently a borough department, funding its own director and assistant director.
After three years, Roman said, the agency hopes to be fully self-sufficient, which would save the borough more money.
Roman said the projected savings assume the borough rents 13 Scott St., the building the agency is currently in, to the agency for $1 and continues paying expenses related to the operation and upkeep of the building.
The borough would still have to fund a matching grant of $26,000 for the agency, or else the agency would lose the grant completely, he said.
Roman said the agency is currently only able to apply for this one grant. If it attains nonprofit status it would be able to apply for more grants, which would take the financial burden off the borough.
The push for the change stems from a long-term strategic plan for borough government that recommended looking into the privatization of Youth and Family Services, the Visiting Nurses Association and trash collection.
Roman said if the agency does become a nonprofit, its focus will shift to only taking care of youth.
The agency, which would be called Naugatuck Youth Services, Inc., would phase out the marriage and family therapy portion that it currently runs. The primary focus would be more youth programs both in and out of the schools, he said.
Programs such as mentoring, homework help, leadership development, cultural enrichment and others would be added, board member Sandra Heller said.
Roman said the switch wouldn’t occur overnight and the agency would make sure those who needed counseling found it at new counseling centers.
Mayor Robert Mezzo called the idea a “sound plan.”
“I believe that they have done a tremendous job putting together a sound plan. I don’t think anyone here is ready to commit to the exact dollar figures, but certainly the proposal is going in the right direction. That’s why I wanted to make sure that members of all three boards got to hear the direction before a decision was made,” Mezzo said.
Borough officials took no action on the proposal Tuesday.