McMinnville officials heard pleas from nonprofit organizations Thursday night regarding funding in fiscal year 2013-14.
Listening to the appeals were Finance Committee members Ken Smith, Mike Neal and Ben Newman. Also at the meeting, but not on the committee, was Alderman Jimmy Bonner.
Director Cheryl Watson Mingle says the Warren County Senior Center offers a wide array of services for seniors and needs city funding.
“Tomorrow we have an 18-wheeler of food coming that we are paying $1,000 for,” said Mingle. “Second Harvest did a grant and we only have to pay $1,000. We will serve probably 250 to 400 households. Second Harvest says this area is a poverty area. We know that.”
Other Senior Center programs include public benefits counseling, employment assistance, social and recreational activities, educational and art programs, mobile food pantries, and nutrition programs.
Mingle asked officials for $10,000 to help fund the programs. Currently in the budget is a donation of $2,500 – down from last year’s overall donation of $8,800.
“Guys, please give us more than $2,500,” Mingle said. “We need the money to keep the doors open. I’ve been here since 1988. If I get a little emotional, I’m sorry.”
Officials also heard from Industrial Development Board interim director George Burke, Chamber of Commerce president Alicea Weddington, Business Roundtable Action Committee chairman Todd Herzog, Magness Library representatives Brad Walker and Pat Bigbee, and Rescue Squad chief Fred Hillis.
Burke says the IDB is about creating jobs through industrial and economic development, but funding is needed.
“In our budget this year, we are in a negative cash flow of about $186,000,” Burke said. “We have reserves, but we need to keep those reserves. We have a lot of money at risk. Companies do go bankrupt and they default on loans. We need to be protected there. They last thing you want is to have your Industrial Development Board file for bankruptcy.”
IDB is estimated to receive $20,000 from the city, down from $34,000 last year.
Weddington says the Chamber is essential to promoting tourism.
“We ask that you look favorably upon our request,” she said. “The Chamber is the promotional arm of the community. I think we have worked very hard. I think we have made some progress toward increasing our tourism efforts here, including being part of the Retire Tennessee program. There has been a 4.7 percent increase in tourism expenditures in Warren County from 2010 to 2011. I think that will continue to increase as we work hard to bring people in.”
Chamber is estimated to receive $15,000, down from $59,000. The amount does not include Chamber dues of $5,500, which has remained unchanged.
Herzog says the Business Roundtable Action Committee scholarship program is exceeding its expectations and its finances.
“Last year, we went down by about $20,000 in our overall treasury,” he said. “The demand is unprecedented. We had 55 kids in student aid last fall and 34 this spring — both are record levels. We have every reason to expect that growth will continue this year.”
The donation to BRAC remains at $7,000, the same amount given last year.
Walker and Bigbee say the library is very important to the community and needs continued funding.
“Magness Library is a public library,” said Bigbee. “It just so happens it is housed in a private building. It is a public library and it meets all the state requirements. We are bound by a maintenance of effort with the state.”
Walker says the library is struggling, both financially and by trying to keep up with technology.
“We would like to request an increase from $70,000 to $75,000 in city funding for Magness Library,” said Walker. “As technologies expand we are trying to keep pace, with Kindles, Nooks and other electronics, so money is needed to procure these and other devices, to train our staff and the public.”
By the numbers given, the library has an expected income of $248,000 and an expected expense of $292,123 for fiscal year 2013-14, a deficit of $49,123.
The library is estimated to receive $48,000 from the city, down from the combined $70,000 given last year.
Hillis says the Rescue Squad needs city assistance to continue its emergency services and helping underprivileged children at Christmas.
“This past year, we had 14,026 hours that 31 members worked,” he said. “We’re volunteers. We enjoy what we do. We enjoy working with the city. We think you are doing a wonderful job. We would appreciate your continued support.”
The donation of $6,000 made last year to the Rescue Squad was reduced to zero in this year’s budget.
Also received were donation requests from American Red Cross, Families in Crisis, Main Street McMinnville, and Paul’s Clinic. No representatives from those organizations were at the meeting.
Officials are considering donation requests as part of finalizing the city budget for fiscal year 2013-14. Changes can still be made.