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City near final budget numbers

Published 7:39pm Friday, April 25, 2014

When the Washington city council meets May 12, it will announce its budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year. The meeting is a public forum for residents to voice their opinions about the budget.

The city is expected to fund several outside agencies, which are local nonprofits that need financial support. Some of them include Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort County, Wright Flight and Corner Stone Worship Center.

During the last week of meetings, nonprofits that needed more funding were asked to submit a service-expansion request. The service-expansion request is expected from nonprofits looking for an increased budget.

However, if a nonprofit did not need any new funding, it was automatically put in the budget for 2014-2015.

For example, at Monday’s meeting, the Beaufort County Arts Council asked for $50,000, but had been funded during the 2013-2014 fiscal year at $16,000. The increase has to do with BCAC’s purchase of the Turnage Theater and how an open Turnage is an economic engine for downtown, one the city is being asked to support. The city council had to decide if the additional money would be in the budget.

“Our job is to give them (city council) as much information as they need so they can make an informed decision to do what they want, essentially,” said Brian Alligood, Washington’s city manager.

The city budget is the means to which the city council gets things done for the their constituents, according Alligood.

“They (nonprofits) provide services and a benefit to the community and the council looks at that and believe good things occur there,” Alligood said.

“We’ll make recommendations to them, but ultimately it is their decision on what programs, and services and what things they want to do as a city to provide for their residents,” Alligood said.

The council announced its full-time employees will receive a $250 bonus at the end of the year, and Fire-Rescue-EMS is scheduled to receive a $59,000 budget increase for the upgrade from intermediate-level service to paramedic-level service. The city has also applied for a $22,000 grant from Vidant Health to support the upgrade.

If the grant does not come through, the city will have to go back and figure out a plan to fund the upgrade for the EMS.

By law, the city has to have a public meeting before the budget is approved. Alligood will publish the budget, so people from the community have a chance to discuss it with council members in May.

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