Council: County should help fund city’s recreational programs

Published 1:51 am Saturday, May 11, 2013

Once again, Washington’s City Council would like Beaufort County to step up to the plate when it comes to providing money to help pay for city parks and recreation programs enjoyed by county residents who do not live in the city.

The city contends that because many county residents — those who live outside the city — participate in the city’s recreation programs, use city sports facilities and use city parks, the county should help cover some of the expenses associated with providing those programs and facilities.

The city is renewing its request that the county provide such funding. The council, during its meeting Thursday, unanimously voted to have city staff forward that request to the county.

Councilman Doug Mercer broached the issue during that meeting.

“May I bring to the council’s attention the county commissioners were presented their budget on Monday afternoon. As you know, about two years ago we were receiving about ($17,000) from the county for our recreational programs. Last year, they took that out completely. This year, we had requested $15,732 from the county for our programs. They have recommended zero,” Mercer said. “I think it is incumbent upon us, as a council, to go to the county commissioners and express our concern with the fact that they are giving every other recreational program in the county funds, and we’ve got the largest recreational program in the county and they’re providing nothing. Our citizens pay county taxes just like every other citizen, and yet here’s an area the county could assist us with and they’ve ignored us.”

Mayor Archie Jennings asked if the city could write a letter that asks the county to provide funds to help pay for running the city’s parks and recreation programs.

“Yes, sir,” replied City Manager Josh Kay.

“Will the council authorize the manager to draft a letter for my signature? I will fire it over there,” Jennings said.

The dispute over the issue has been going on for several years.

Last year during budget talks, Mercer suggested the city tell the county unless the county provided funds to help run the city’s recreational programs that county residents who do not live in the city be banned from participating in those programs unless they pay their way.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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