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More charitable donations back in city budget
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McMinnville officials reached some compromise with the proposed 2011-12 fiscal year budget during Tuesday’s meeting. Charitable donations totaling $93,000 were included.
Finance Committee chairman Billy Wood began the meeting by stating his approval for the recommendations given by city administrator David Rutherford in a letter attached to the budget.
The city has until Aug. 31 to present a budget to the state. With two readings required for an ordinance and two city meetings a month, officials have minimal time to review and revise the proposed budget.
Vice Mayor Everett Brock addressed the absence of charitable donations in the proposed budget.
“We have the four that are currently included,” he said. “Those are the ones we are required by law to make. ”
Maintenance of effort law requires officials to give Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency dues of $2,721, Magness Library $48,000, Upper Cumberland Development District $2,857, and Chamber of Commerce dues of $5,500 — a total of $59,078.
Last year, the city gave $49,000 to the Chamber for tourism, $2,000 to Sister Cities and $34,000 to the Industrial Development Board — a total of $85,000.
This year, Main Street McMinnville has requested $5,000.
“I’m strongly in favor of restoring the Main Street program,” said Mayor Norman Rone. “They do a lot for us and we see results with more people coming into downtown because of Main Street Live.”
Alderman Clair Cochran added, “The Main Street program is an active part of our community. I second the support. I think $5,000 is a drop in the bucket to show them how much we appreciate them.”
Cochran also voiced support for continued funding for the IDB. She recommended giving the same amount as last year.
“I appreciate them coming to the table with Park Theatre funding,” she said. “That item is still on the table. It is still being discussed. It is still active. I think the partnership is evident and we should continue it.”
Then the compromising began.
“Tell you what I’m going to do,” said Wood, which received laughter from board members. “You put the Rescue Squad back in there the same as the last year and I will go with you on the others.”
Cochran questioned how much the Warren County Rescue Squad was given, to which Wood responded, “$382,000, wasn’t it Donald?”
After the laughter died down, Wood presented the correct amount.
“We gave them $3,000 last time,” he said. “That’s half of what they are asking for this year. That is the only Rescue Squad we have, and I do know they don’t sit down there and eat bonbons.”
Cochran and Brock voiced their support for giving the donation.
The good-hearted ribbing continued.
“I guess we need to discuss the Chamber’s tourism donation,” said Brock.
“I’m for pulling it,” Cochran said, which was followed by laughter. “Sorry Alicea (Chamber president Alicea Weddington). I haven’t see you in a while. I’m all in favor of the Chamber.”
While donations required by law were already in the budget, those under discussion were not. In order to not affect the city’s projected ending fund balance in June 2012, funding will need to be covered with a property tax increase.
“Combined, those are about a 4.5-cent tax increase,” said Brock. “No, it’s about 4.6 cents.”
Finance Committee members Wood, Cochran and Brock unanimously voted to include donations to Main Street McMinnville, Sister Cities, Rescue Squad, Chamber for tourism, and IDB in the amounts discussed.
The changes to the proposed budget will be presented to the full board for approval.