Finance Committee Chair Lamar Hudgins recommended, with majority support from the finance committee, to deny funds for the National Youth Sports Program in Albany during the Dougherty County Commission meeting Monday.
The NYSP, which has provided free summer activities and drug abuse education to children 9-15 years old for nearly four decades, has asked the county for $15,000 for this year's summer camp.
Hudgins said the program's funds have fluctuated over the last several years, and was operating out of a $1,200 deficit in 2010. The account has since grown to a surplus of nearly $54,000.
Some commissioners say the program provides social benefits that reduce costs related to juvenile crime.
Hudgins said the sheriff's department offers similar programs, and recommended withholding funding because of growing budgetary constraints.
Commissioner John Hayes spoke out against the recommendation to defund the NYSP, which he said provides a valuable service to Albany's youth most at risk for substance abuse problems and criminal activity involvement.
"And part of why this program is so important, I believe, it gets to young people at an age before they transition...often to getting into trouble if you will, at the ages that they're taking them into this program," Commissioner John Hayes, Dougherty County Commission.
The program used to get funding from the federal government, but has increasingly turned to local government and private sources to maintain programs.
County Commissioners will take a vote next Monday.