Keep Carter County Beautiful discusses possible options to receive donations

Published 8:41 am Friday, May 17, 2019

Keep Carter County Beautiful receives support from both government and private citizen groups, but the organization has wrestled with how it can accept monetary donations, as the methods to do so have changed over the past few years.

During the organization’s monthly meeting Tuesday evening, chairman Edward Jordan said the topic, which has surfaced in a number of meetings over the past few months, needed a clear course moving forward.

“We need to bite the bullet,” Jordan said. “I am tired of fighting this.”

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According to Jordan and other board members, there are two routes the board could take as to how to accept donations. One option is to file for a 501(c)(3), which would label KCCB as a nonprofit entity able to receive its own donations. The other is to petition the Carter County Commission and Elizabethton City Council to add line items to their budgets, roughly $1,000 each, to serve as a sort of “pathway” for donations to come through.

In the former, all a donor would need to do is write the check directly to KCCB, while in the case of the latter, it would allow donors to write a check to the Carter County Clerk’s Office, earmarked for KCCB. The donation would then go through the budget committee, who would then approve the donation to go through in a budget amendment.

County Commissioner Ross Garland said he still has a line open for a budget vote in Thursday’s Budget Committee meeting, and City Council member Michael Simerly said a similar line item has existed in the city budget in the past.

“We cannot accept funds without this,” Jordan said.

The various members had different ideas on which one they should pursue first, though the board eventually decided to go with the 510(c)(3) route.

“I move to get the $1,000 into city and county budgets before pursuing the 501(c)(3),” Garland said.

Commissioner Ginger Holdren agreed with Garland, saying setting up the nonprofit route might attract more potential donors as opposed to setting up a funding pathway with the county.

With all the money talk, Jordan proposed the idea of opening a position for KCCB Treasurer to help manage this process and more in the future.

“I have enough on my plate as it is,” he said. “We are going to start dropping balls. […] We do not want to burn out.”

Ultimately, the board voted to hold the latter discussion until after the full county budget passed, at which time they will be better able to decide which funding route to take based on how the commission votes.

In other business, the board discussed details on their upcoming second annual Beautification Project. This year, it will take place at the Tweetsie Trail as it passes the Medical Care building at 1500 West Elk Ave.

Jordan said volunteers should bring shovels, wheelbarrows, rakes and anything else needed to assist in planting flowers, small trees and other plants.

The beautification project will take place Saturday, May 18. The project itself begins at 9 a.m., but Jordan said he recommends volunteers show up at around 8:30 to 8:45 a.m.