Council’s heart is in the right place

Published 6:20 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2013

About a year ago, Washington’s City Council decided to begin reducing funding the city provides to outside agencies, with the goal of eventually eliminating such funding.

There’s nothing wrong in doing that, and look for the City Council to reach that goal, but it may take some time.

Last week, it may have appeared the City Council contradicted itself by increasing funding for some outside agencies the city has been funding for several years and allocating funds for a new outside agency. Don’t look at the City Council’s action as a contradiction. Look at that action as an investment in the community’s future.

During a budget work session last week, the City Council, by way of a nonbinding straw poll, indicated it’s willing to increase funding by $6,000 to the Purpose of God Annex Outreach Center so it receives $24,000, allocating $15,000 to Cornerstone Family Worship Center to help fund services it provides the community and appropriating $1,000 for Eagle’s Wings, a local food pantry that helps feed the needy.

City Manager Josh Kay’s proposed budget did not include funding for Eagle’s Wings or Cornerstone Family Worship Center’s programs.

Mayor Archie Jennings made an excellent case for increasing the funding for the Purpose of God Annex Outreach Center and providing first-time funding to Cornerstone Family Worship Center.

“I just want to say that all of these agencies that we’ve partnered with over the years are certainly deserving. There are some, in my personal opinion, that have a decided impact in the community. Their programs, like Bishop (James S.) McIntyre’s program at Cornerstone — and that’s why I wanted to know about the success the program has experienced. Purpose of God, I think, also provides a unique function and purpose in the community. I would like to see those requests receive additional attention and funding, if we can afford it because of the impact the stated purpose that they fulfill in the community,” Jennings said.

As the City Council works toward that goal of eventually eliminating providing tax dollars to outside agencies, it should make sure it keeps its commitment to work with those outside agencies so they can prepare for the day when they will no longer receive funds from the city. It’s up to Washington residents and Beaufort County residents to continue their support — on a private level and at a greater level — for those outside agencies.