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Steep rent increase puts Racine's Toys For Tots non-profit in jeopardy

NOW: Steep rent increase puts Racine’s Toys For Tots non-profit in jeopardy

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RACINE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Racine non-profit known for bringing holiday joy is afraid a steep increase in rent might put it in jeopardy. The non-profit received a lease agreement that increases the rent by more than 27 times.  

Tex Reynolds Toys For Tots has been running out of the basement of the Racine City Hall Annex for 45 years. However, next year’s proposed rent could be a problem for the future of the organization.

Every year, the non-profit organization brings holiday cheer to thousands of children in Racine County by distributing refurbished toys.

“Sort 'em, clean 'em, refurbish 'em, and then pack 'em for Christmas,” said Pete Waselchuk, president of the organization.

The proposed lease could impact the operation and its nearly 11,0000-square-feet of space.

Under the new agreement, the organization would go from paying $200 annually to $5,466.

“That’s pretty steep for us. We run this on a shoestring,” Wasulchuk said.

Wasulchuk added that’s about 25-percent of their budget.

Racine officials say the city has been footing the bills.

“The city has been covering costs, all the taxpayers have been covering costs, of utilities, maintenance and capital that’s needed to maintain that building,” said John Rooney, Public Works commissioner.

For now, the rent fee has been delayed for a few months.

“It’s a great facility, we would hate to lose the facility,” Wasulchuk said.

The proposed lease is scheduled to be discussed a city council meeting Tuesday night, Dec. 17.

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