05/12/14 — Groups would hurt under budget

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Groups would hurt under budget

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on May 12, 2014 1:46 PM

Feeding 25 homebound seniors for a year.

Purchasing new display cases for the Wayne County Museum.

Expanding WATCH programs in the county to help those most in need.

Those are just some of the things that could be accomplished if the Goldsboro City Council fully funds the many local organizations that requested allocations in the 2014-15 budget.

From a $54 million spending plan, $25,000 might not seem like a lot to ask for.

In fact, that figure makes up less than 0.05 percent of the entire budget.

But for WAGES, that sum represents the difference between feeding 25 homebound seniors for an entire year and those men and women, perhaps, going hungry.

WAGES requested $25,000 from the city for its Meals on Wheels program -- a request that, if City Manager Scott Stevens' recommendation holds up, would be denied.

WAGES did not receive funding from the city last year, either.

"We requested it from the city because we have a lot of city residents who are in need of our services," said WAGES Director Dr. Marlee Ray.

Ms. Ray said she also hoped the money could go to feed some homebound citizens who don't meet the age requirement for the grant funding WAGES uses for its meals program.

"We could potentially reach people that don't meet that 60-year-old age requirement in the grant," she said.

But WAGES is not the only organization that would be negatively impacted if the council votes to approve the budget that was unveiled last week.

Others would not see the funds they requested, either.

The WATCH program requested $40,000 and, under the proposed plan, would only receive $20,000.

Sissy Lee-Elmore, the organization's director, said that the extra $20,000 would allow WATCH to expand its programs with new training.

"Over half of our patients reside in the city," she said. "But we are more than grateful for what we get."

The Wayne County Museum would take a hit, too.

Museum director, Brantley Partin, said that the funds the museum requested -- $22,000 -- would be used with funds from the county to make his position full-time and fund new display cases for the museum artifacts.

A change to full time for Partin would mean that the museum could stay open longer and serve more people, he said.

Money from the city goes toward everything from keeping the lights on to keeping the water running.

"It goes to the building," Partin said. "It goes for everything, but not new display cases, we can't afford those."

And given the fact that the proposed budget only includes $12,000 for the museum, they won't be able to again this year.

Project Uplift, an organization that supports abused women through the Wayne County Health Department, requested $40,000 and would only be allocated $5,000.

Officials there were unavailable for comment.


Despite the current outlook, there is still hope.

The numbers are not final and the public will have an opportunity to weigh in before the budget is passed, Goldsboro Finance Director Kaye Scott said.

"They haven't changed what they want to yet," she said. "(The council) just got a first look at the budget."

Change could come as early as Thursday when, at 10 a.m. in the City Hall Annex, council members will meet to discuss Stevens' plan.

And the agencies that requested funds from the city will be notified of the city manager's recommendations by mail and will be able to speak during the public hearing on the issue scheduled for May 19.