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Future budgets may reduce funds to outside agencies

Published 5:33pm Monday, May 20, 2013

Moments after approving the city’s 2013-2014 budget Monday, Washington’s City Council served notice that future budgets could reduce funding for outside agencies in subsequent budget years.

During last year’s budget writing-process, the council indicated that it is prepared to reduce funding to outside agencies — if not eliminate that funding altogether — in coming budget years. The original proposed budget for the upcoming budget did just that, but the council added funding for a new outside agency, increased funding for one outside agency and restored funding to another outside agency during a budget work session earlier this month.

“Mr. Mayor, now that the budget has been adopted, I’d like to move that the mayor write a letter to all those outside agencies that received … funding this year and advise them that in future years that funding may be reduced at the discretion of the council,” Councilman Doug Mercer said.

Mayor Pro Tempore Bobby Roberson seconded the motion.

“I think that’s a good idea. You know, we’ve talked a lot about our funding and so forth and the levels and the need to coach and give guidance to our partnership boards going forward. I’m happy to write that letter, if the council sees fit.”

The motion passed with a 4-1 vote, with council members Richard Brooks, William Pitt, Mercer and Roberson voting for it. Councilman Edward Moultrie voted against the motion.

During a budget work session earlier this month, Mercer made it clear that some outside agencies, such as the Zion Shelter, are deserving of city funds because they provide vital services to the community and its residents. Other council members agreed.

To that end, the just-approved 2013-2014 budget — when compared to the proposed 2013-2014 budget — increases funding to the Purpose of God Annex Outreach Center by $6,000 so it receives $24,000 in the next fiscal year, allocates $15,000 to Cornerstone Family Worship Center (first-time city funds) to help fund services it provides the community and appropriates $1,000 for Eagle’s Wings, a local food pantry that helps feed the needy. The initial proposed budget allocated no funds to Eagle’s Wing.

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