Charitable donations are down, but Fiscal Court may pick up the slack, as magistrates proposed Thursday to increase their budget for outside organizations by about $11,000.
In a work session for the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget, the court proposed giving about $171,400 to Franklin County charities and nonprofit agencies.
The court helps fund nearly 20 agencies, including the Kings Center, Salvation Army and the Franklin County Women’s Shelter.
No action was taken at the work session, but the court proposed keeping most of the organizations’ budgets at the same level as last year’s, while recommending to increase funding for several.
The Resource Office of Social Ministries received the biggest increase, with the court recommending to provide the $23,000 it requested this year, up from last year’s $20,000.
Judge-Executive Ted Collins initially proposed raising ROSM’s budget by just $1,000, but Magistrates Jill Robinson, Phillip Kring Huston Wells and Don Sturgeon said it deserved more.
“Nobody ever has anything bad to say about ROSM,” Sturgeon said.
The court also proposed increasing funding for Mission Frankfort Clinic, which provides basic medical, dental and pharmaceutical care to the county’s uninsured residents.
Health Department Director Paula Alexander said the clinic treated more than 1,000 patients and provided more than $400,000 in medications from pharmaceutical companies, with an additional 3,100 prescriptions given out through a grant from Wayne’s Pharmacy.
She said the clinic fills a “huge void,” and that demand will increase by 70 percent within the next year.
The clinic requested $10,000, double what it received last year, and Wells said he’d give them that amount “in a heartbeat.”
Kring, Robinson, and Magistrate Larry Perkins also suggested giving the clinic $10,000, but Collins put his foot down.
“I can’t do that,” Collins said, proposing to compromise and give $7,500 instead. “I like to take your (the court’s) input into everything, but I don’t have to agree with everything.”
“Then why are we having this discussion?” Robinson asked.
Collins said it wouldn’t be fair to double funding for just one agency, but Kring said he disagreed with the judge overriding the magistrates.
“We had four votes for 10 (grand),” he said. “That’s going to bite you in the end, I guarantee ya.”
The court also proposed to take the $2,000 it gave to PUSH Early Childhood Development Center, which closed this year, to Simon House, an agency that hasn’t been on the court’s last several budgets.
While the court didn’t say it would decrease funding for any agencies, discussion arose on why the county funds several organizations in the first place.
“(Funding) Downtown Frankfort (Inc.) … that’s always bothered me,” Kring said. “Frankfort’s in the county, but it’s just the center.”
Collins said he could give them “a thousand or two less,” but ultimately said it’s an organization the county should support.
“I’d leave them alone. Recently it seems like their slant has been more toward economic development,” she said.
The court suggested keeping Downtown Frankfort’s funding the same at $7,000, with Collins and Kring saying they’ll give them “one more shot.”
“Let’s see how much progress they make,” Robinson added.
The court also questioned the $5,000 it gives to Thorn Hill Learning Center.
“I’m a huge supporter of Thorn Hill … as far as continuing to support the day-to-day operations, I’ve got some mixed emotions,” Collins said. “I can support it, but I would like to reduce that amount.”
Some of the others nodded their head in agreement, but Perkins quickly came to the center’s defense by listing all the services it offers.
“You got people getting GEDs there, they have things for kids … they prepare people to go back to college,” Perkins said. “… And after this year, you’re going to see more and more of them trying to get (outside) contributions.”
Collins said Perkins convinced him, and proposed to keep funding the same at $5,000.
Since it was a work session, no official votes were taken. The budget will be finalized and voted on within the next couple of months.