The city of McMinnville could soon be seeking the services of a grant writer.
Mayor Jimmy Haley has requested aldermen consider designating funds within the 2017-18 fiscal year budget.
“For several years, we’ve been talking about a grant writer but we’ve never really moved forward with it,” said Haley. “We’ve used Upper Cumberland Development on several grants, successful grants, and when I was at the Rural Development Conference in Nashville a week or so ago, they discussed the importance of grant writing and how many grants are actually out there. Lots of cities are moving toward doing contracts with grant writers.”
The contract would be an agreement between the city and a freelance grant writer. They would work as an independent contractor, an individual who is self-employed, bears responsibility for his or her own taxes and expenses, and is not subject to an employer’s direction and control.
Haley says a grant writer could seek opportunities for funding that would help with departmental projects and future expansions, such as the indoor pool.
“I feel like it’s time for us to move forward with this, particularly when we have projects like the indoor pool and other projects we might have in the future. Each department could make a wish list of things or projects so we can start identifying possible grants that might be able to assist in funding them.”
Payment for the service will have to be negotiated between the city and the individual and outlined in the contract. Among other possible charges, freelance grant writers receive a percentage of the grant they successfully acquire for the city.
Most of the city’s departments have individuals who are skilled at applying for smaller grants. Alderman Everett Brock would like the independent grant writer to seek larger grants.
“We know we have grant writers within the departments but they tend to focus on smaller dollar amount grants, I think. We would like to see grants that are major dollar amounts. Grants that might take a lot of time and cannot be done within the departments, because they just don’t have the time. They have their own duties to perform.”
The individual would also be expected to administer any grant they obtain.
“We need to make sure we have an administrative process as part of this,” said Haley. “We don’t want someone writing a grant and then walking off and leaving it.”
Administration requires someone maintain proper internal controls that document grant procedures, accounting and financial reporting, and follow any and all requirements outlined in the grant agreement. It can be a complex process.
“Most of these grants have administrative monies attached to them so you can use that money to administer the grant,” said Brock. “That could be used to pay the person who gets the grant for us.”
The discussion was held during a Finance Committee meeting. Members approved drafting a request for proposal (RFP) for consideration.