published Friday, April 8th, 2011

Nonprofits plead for funding in final planned budget hearing


by Cliff Hightower

WHAT’S NEXT

The City Council will meet 10 a.m. Tuesday to talk about the sale’s tax agreement and the city’s next steps. Councilwoman Deborah Scott said a resolution could be presented for the council to vote up or down on whether it wants to extend the sales-tax agreement.

A hodgepodge of nonprofit agencies presented to the City Council on Thursday night in its last scheduled budget hearing.

Some of the agencies were in the original 45-year-old sales tax agreement, some were funded by both the city and county through general funds and some were exclusively funded by the county.

Some of the agencies admitted confusion as they presented to the council. Councilwoman Carol Berz, chairwoman of the budget, finance and personnel committee, asked Bo Walker, chief operating officer for the Partnership for Children, Family and Adults, how he heard his organization would be funded.

“You were told this would not be funded?” Berz asked.

“We were told that program would not be funded by the sales tax,” Walker replied.

The sales-tax agreement between the city and county is set to expire next month and the city would receive $10.5 million originally given to the county as part of the contract.

The city has maintained it would not extend the agreement and let it expire. Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger has sent out a letter saying agencies originally funded jointly through sales tax would not be funded by the county this year.

That left a slew of agencies coming in Thursday night asking for additional money not funded before by the city. Walker told the council he had a budget request of $543,000 for a program once funded by the county.

Peter Chairman, executive director for the Team Center, asked the council for $89,500. He said afterward the county usually footed that bill.

Kyle Hauth, executive director for the Orange Grove Center, asked the council for $48,000.

“This $48,000 your asking for, it was previously funded by the county?” asked Councilman Jack Benson.

“Yes,” Hauth said.

Berz said afterward the council would meet Tuesday morning and start making decisions on how and where to fund the agencies. She said they have received a slew of additional requests and some of these agencies are now in “panic mode.”

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