Council will amend budget for 20-percent cut

Published 3:56 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Washington’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2017-2018, made public last week, does not reflect the City Council’s March 27 decision to reduce funding for outside agencies and economic-development groups by 20 percent.

There’s a reason for that, according to City Manager Bobby Roberson.

“We sent out the budget to meet our schedule ahead of the council action (March 27) on outside agencies. So, we used the same thing as the (current budget), but it will be adjusted during the budget process, but it is 20 percent,” Roberson said.

At that March 27 meeting, after debating several proposals regarding that funding, from eliminating it to keeping it at its current level, the City Council voted 3-2 to reduce that funding across the board by one-fifth. Council members Doug Mercer, Richard Brooks and Larry Beeman voted for the 20-percent cut, with council members William Pitt and Virginia Finnerty voting against that reduction. Finnerty advocated for determining an organization’s funding on a case-by-case basis.

Under the 20-percent reduction, the Beaufort County Boys & Girls Club receives, $10,368 for the next fiscal year, Zion Shelter and Kitchen receives $6,120, Wright Flight gets $2,268, The Blind Center receives $809.60, Eagle’s Wings gets $648, Purpose of God Outreach Center is allocated $12,960 and Cornerstone Community Learning Center receives $6,480. Open Door Community Center (a new agency being funded for the first time) receives $8,000. It requested a one-time contribution of $10,000 to get it shelter for homeless women and children up and running.

As for the economic-development groups, the Washington Harbor District Alliance gets $40,176, the North Carolina Estuarium gets $12,960, Arts of the Pamlico receives $10,368 and the city’s Christmas parade (organized by the Washington Kiwanis) gets $972.

At the March 27 meeting, the council decided not to reduce funds for the Highway 17 Association ($6,750 for membership dues) and Beaufort-Hyde-Martin Regional Library ($7,800). Beaufort County allocates $7,800 for the city-run Brown Library, and the city reciprocates with appropriating the same amount for the regional library.

At the March 27 meeting, city staff presented five options regarding outside agency funding for the council to consider. Those options were:

  • fund at the same amounts in the current fiscal year;
  • reduce their current amounts by 10 percent;
  • reduce their current amounts by 50 percent;
  • not fund any outside agency or economic-development group;
  • funding specified agencies, with the council determining how much those agencies would receive.

The council rejected those options in favor of the 20-percent reduction.

The council also instructed Roberson to notify the outside agencies and economic-development groups by letter that the city will re-evaluate its appropriations for them in the 2018-2019 budget. In recent years, the city has told the organizations their funding could be reduced, if not eliminated, as the council put together the city’s budgets during those years.


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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