DUNN CITY, N.C.—During a council meeting on March 4, The Dunn City Council has refused to give a chance for the Hope Children Ministries Outreach Program to renew a lease for a building used for the Hope Childcare Development Center but decided to recess. The council’s consideration to offer the building for bid has put the future of the children and parents relying on the daycare facility in danger.
"The parents that we are providing the childcare services for, some of them will lose their jobs because they don't have anywhere for the kids to go,” Rev. Willie Snead from the Hope Outreach Ministries.
Operating 24 hours a day, the Dunn daycare has been subleasing the building for five years, paying $1 a year. The lease expired on Feb.29.
"There has been a lot of controversy that has arisen from this lease expiring,” said Snead.
Some members of the city council have suggested that the daycare should be leased to the highest bidder. It is their obligation and duty “to allow all qualifying non-profits the same opportunity HOPE has,” according to Council member Billy Ray Godwin.
Dunn Council member Donnie Olds said that if the lease is to be renewed, Hope Ministries should have the first opportunity.
“They are there, they are established. I think in all due fairness, we make an offer to them,” he said.
A committee including the City Mayor Dal Snipes, City Manager Mike Uskiewicz, and City Attorney Tilghman Pope announced that the place could fetch $1,250 a month after they researched on the fair market value of the building.
Rev. Snead was not given an offer before the announcement. “They’ve never approached me with any amount,” he said.
For now, the mayor is putting the daycare on a month-to-month lease until further notice.
The majority of the 155 children who attend the daycare are from unemployed or underemployed homes. Removing the daycare would mean removing the help the children need.
“If this daycare is taken away from the children, a lot of them will not get the support that they're actually getting right now,” said daycare worker Betty Ashford, who works among 20 employees at the daycare.
Rev. Snead said, “I hope they make the right decision.”