Council slated to discuss money for outside agencies

Published 12:13 am Monday, February 22, 2016

Two weeks ago, Washington’s City Council heard outside agencies ask for city money. Tonight, the council is scheduled to discuss those requests.

City Manager Bobby Roberson is looking for that discussion to produce some results regarding the council determining funding amounts in the near future “I need a decision by March 14,” Roberson said. “I don’t want to wait until the end of the budget (process). I want them to go ahead — I’m going to ask them to make the decision on March 14.”

Roberson said he plans to make no recommendations concerning funding for outside agencies during Monday’s council meeting.

“It’s entirely up to them. We just need to know the numbers so we can go ahead and plan for it and do what we need to do,” Roberson said.

Thirteen organizations, including outside agencies and economic-development entities, have submitted requests for city funds totaling $218,150 during the upcoming fiscal year. In its current fiscal-year budget, the city allocated $159,075 for those agencies. For the most part, the city has reduced funding for the agencies each year in the past several years. The council took no action on the requests; its funding decision concerning the agencies will come later during budget work sessions.

Agencies seeking more funding in the upcoming budget include the Beaufort County Boys & Girls Club, Zion Shelter, Wright Flight and the Blind Center. The Purpose of God Outreach Center, Cornerstone Community Learning Center and Beaufort-Hyde-Martin Regional Library seek the same funding they received for this fiscal year. The library’s funding is part of a reciprocal agreement involving the city-owned Brown Library.

Eagle’s Wings, a Washington-based food pantry, wants a credit on its utilities bills instead of a direct contribution from the city. Eagle’s Wings pays about $9,000 a year to the city for utilities.

As for the economic-development organizations, the Washington Harbor District Alliance, North Carolina Estuarium and Arts of the Pamlico each requested more money that allocated to them this fiscal year. Arts of the Pamlico received $14,400 this fiscal year. It requested $50,000 for the upcoming fiscal year. The Estuarium, which received $18,000 this fiscal year, seeks $25,000 for the next fiscal year. The Washington Harbor District Alliance, allocated $55,800 this fiscal year, requested $58,000 for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The Highway 17 Association, appropriated $7,500 this fiscal year, wants the same amount for the next fiscal year. The association works to have the entire length of U.S. Highway 17 in North Carolina upgraded to four lanes from Virginia to South Carolina, including the section between Washington and Williamston and the section between Chocowinity and Vanceboro. The Washington Kiwanis club wants $1,350 to spend on organizing the Washington Christmas parade for the upcoming fiscal year, the same amount it received for the current fiscal year.

Except for The Blind Center, Cornerstone Community Learning Center and BHM Library, a spokesman for each organization explained two weeks ago why that entity is seeking city funding and how the money would be used. In recent years, the city has required groups seeking city dollars to submit documentation detailing their programs and services.

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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