A city allocation to an alcohol and drug treatment program drew some criticism Monday.

A city allocation to an alcohol and drug treatment program drew some criticism Monday.

Up until now, the Omega Project has not been approved to receive funds from the city of McPherson.

However, as of Monday, the houses will receive $7,500 from the city’s special alcohol and drug program’s fund for its leadership training program.

The Omega Project is a faith-based program in McPherson that works to assist men with drug and alcohol addictions. Currently, the project has five houses, servicing a total of 25 men.

Gerry Bley, a McPherson resident, expressed concerns during the city commission meeting on the use of the funds, saying that the city should be careful regarding the use of taxpayer dollars toward faith-based organizations.

“I would support a program like this, but only under certain conditions,” Bley said. “I do not believe in supporting a particular religion with tax dollars. One problem with giving tax dollars to a religious organization that has a charismatic leader is that they believe in divine authority, and how could there be any other answer but what divine authority tells you.”

Mayor Tom Brown assured the funds only would be used in the training of leaders for the Omega Houses and would not directly benefit any particular faith. The purchase of faith-based literature or costs behind religious study would remain in the hands of the Omega Project.

The city’s special alcohol and drug program’s fund receives money annually from taxes on alcohol, and the city is required to spend the funds on alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs.

The allocation of these funds is in the hands of the City of McPherson Special Alcohol and Drug Abuse Committee, who approved $7,500 allocation for the Omega Project on Feb. 19. The formal approval of those funds was granted by city commissioners on Monday. The funds are to go toward leadership training for the houses, and the project is to provide a report on the use of the funds on a semi-annual basis. The agreement is to last for a year, after which the city will review any possible continued spending.

In other business:

• Larry Helms, with Mac Area Cruisers, was approved to use Lakeside Park for the Mac Area Cruiser’s car show. The car show will be on Sept. 14.

• Commissioners approved the vacation of a portion of public street right-of-way, located adjacent to old U.S. Highway 50 and First Street. The vacation is part of the city’s First Street project.

• Commissioners approved an agreement with Craig P. Corrigon for the placement of monuments on Turkey Creek Golf Course and for advertisement. All revenue generated by the advertisement is to be divided evenly between the vendor and the city.

• Matt Bay, a local Boy Scout working on his Eagle Scout credit, was approved to install a map board in the southeast corner of Linnea Park, around the intersection of Elm and Marlin. The map board will show four different walking paths within the city limits. The city is not paying for materials.

• The commission approved $16,500 for Amendment Three, an agreement for Cook Flatt & Strobel, design and engineers for the First Street project, to manage bids and contract documents for the project.

• Commission approved $33,008 for final quantities for street and stormwater improvements at The Veranda.

• Commissioners approved $12,636 to build 20 public parking spaces in front of Lakeside Towers, 729 Kerschner Drive. Lakeside Towers will pay for the cost of materials, while the city shall contribute free labor.

Contact Joseph Tuszynski at joe.tuszynski@mcphersonsentinel.com, or follow him on Twitter @JoeTSentinel.