Carbondale trustees dole out $48K in community grants
CARBONDALE — The town’s trustees are likely to give out slightly more than expected in the annual community grants process, but still not as much as might have been disbursed, following discussions at a work session on Tuesday night.
According to Town Manager Jay Harrington, the trustees agreed to contribute “a little more than $48,000” in grants to 48 nonprofit and other organizations that work on such issues as human services, education, the environment, recreation and “regional collaboration.”
A total of more than $170,000 in requests was received, according to the town, compared to the maximum of $55,000 that the town is prepared to hand out.
The trustees, for the past several years, have dealt with funding requests from the different organizations by what is called “averaging.” Each trustee writes up his or her own list of proposed contributions to the organizations seeking help, which are then added up and “averaged” by the town’s administrative staff.
For example, Carbondale Community Access Radio, which owns and operates the KDNK radio station, asked for $3,500 in funding for 2014. In their individual lists, the trustees suggested giving a donation of anywhere from $500 (Mayor Stacey Bernot and trustees John Foulkrod, Elizabeth Murphy and Pam Zentmyer) to $2,500 (Frosty Merriott), with trustees Allyn Harvey ($1,000) and John Hoffmann ($1,500) falling in the middle.
The average of the proposed town contributions to KDNK, which last year was $857, came to $1,000 for 2014, which is what the town is contributing to the station.
The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, which requested $33,000 for 2014, and which last year received $28,443, will likely be getting about $26,800 for the coming year — $20,000 from the town’s Economic Development Fund, and $6,800 in the community grants process.
The total amount of each trustee’s proposed contribution to the organizations was $55,000 from the mayor; $26,000 from Foulkrod; $53,500 from Harvey; $54,000 from Hoffmann; $55,000 from Merriott; $30,000 from Murphy; and $55,300 from Zentmyer.
To soften the blow of reduced funding, the trustees agreed to “round up to the nearest $100 mark” for each contribution, Harrington said. So the contribution of $714 to the Carbondale Clay Center would be rounded up to $800.
In a separate category, the trustees accepted the recommendation of the town’s parks and recreation commission, which was $24,000 for eight different events or annual programs that included the 5 Point Film Festival ($8,000), concerts and fashion shows by the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities ($9,500) and six others that received anywhere from $850 to $2,500 each.
Harrington explained that the money to pay for the special events comes from proceeds of the town’s dedicated sales and use taxes for recreation, which he said is expected to have a fund balance of approximately $569,000 by the end of 2014.
But, Harrington added, the rec fund balance has been raided in the past four years or so, to the tune of about $200,000 a year, in order to maintain programs, facilities and special events in the face of declining revenues.
“We believe it’s going to continue to trend downwards,” Harrington said of the rec fund, meaning the trustees probably will need to continue dipping into the fund to maintain the level of services that residents have come to expect.
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