Budget Committee clarifies stance on funding non-profits

Published 4:08 pm Monday, June 5, 2023

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Star Correspondent
After hearing concerns from local non-profit organizations, the Carter County Budget Committee has clarified that it plans to provide funding for those agencies.
The committee had planned to take non-profit funding out of the budget, but give them the opportunity to return later to seek money. Committee members said during its meeting on June 1 that it has not been their intention to not fund the agencies.
Mayor Patty Woodby and some of the commissioners said they have received calls and emails from concerned citizens and non-profit leaders about potentially not being funded.
Woodby suggested the committee approve funding in the budget for the Elizabethton Senior Center, Loaves and Fishes, Assistance and Resource Ministry and Second Harvest Food Bank.
“We are cutting off some of these outside agencies cold turkey,” Woodby said.
Cutting funding for those organizations could add to the burden at the jail, the Sheriff’s Office and the school system, the mayor said.
“There is going to be a burden placed on our community,” said Woodby, who added that the committee should have given the non-profit agencies more advance notice.
Budget Committee Vice Chair Julie Guinn clarified the committee’s plans, noting that outside agencies are not going to be defunded.
The plan was for the agencies to return to seek funding after the full commission approved the budget.
Commissioner Robert Acuff, who noted the important work of some of the organizations regarding the county’s low income and elderly citizens, made a motion to commit funding for the agencies at the 2022-23 level. He also suggested the county send a letter to those organizations stating that funding could be reduced over time. Acuff said the organizations “have got to have skin in the game.”
The committee unanimously approved the motion.
Committee members have been considering various options to adjust this year’s budget in order to recommend a 2.5 percent pay increase for county government employees who do not work at the sheriff’s office or school system. The pay increase could require a property tax rate increase.
The committee meets again on June 8.

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