GREENSBURG – The Greensburg City Council on Monday approved most of the $170,000 in funding requests it had received from nonprofit organizations last week, but council members also clashed on some of the amounts the organizations had requested.
Councilman Jamie Cain, a Republican representing District 3, repeatedly questioned the amounts requested by some of the organizations and voted against giving the requested amounts to a local domestic violence shelter and a local soup kitchen.
Cain said that a $20,000 request from New Directions, a center for victims of abuse, was too high, and he would prefer giving $10,000.
“We have to start pushing back to make them more self-sufficient,” Cain said. “We have to start scrutinizing the money they spend.”
Diane Moore, executive director of New Directions, had said in last week’s meeting that the need for funding remains high, as the agency in 2013 served a larger number of primary and secondary victims than in the prior year.
Cain did not attend last week’s meeting, in which the organizations explained their funding requests and answered Council members’ questions.
Councilman Glenn Tebbe, a Democrat and at-large member, said that New Directions had provided evidence about providing a real service in times of crisis, and that the Council had received statements from the Greensburg Police Department about the organization’s importance.
Mayor Gary Herbert, too, said that he has seen the organization’s impact and that it saves money for the police department, jail and court system.
Both Herbert and Tebbe suggested providing the full amount, to provide $15,000 right away with an option for New Directions to return for an additional $5,000 from the city’s share of Riverboat gambling dollars, which, Tebbe pointed out, is not coming out of local taxpayers’ pockets.
Cain said, however, that the money could be used for other things.
Council members voted to provide the full amount, with Cain voting against.
Clerk-Treasurer Bridgett Webber informed the Council that the city’s Riverboat fund contains nearly $440,000, while the city’s Rainy Day fund holds another $537,000.
Greensburg Community Bread of Life, a local soup kitchen requested $20,000, in part to train some of its patrons to get jobs in the food industry and reduce their reliance on Bread of Life, Administrative Assistant Kim Porter had said last week. About 60 percent of the agency’s funding comes from donations from individuals and businesses, about 30 percent comes from grants, and the remainder from events.
Councilman Darrell Poling, a Republican representing District 4, said that while Bread of Life is a good organization, he thought $20,000 was excessive.
Cain said he did not want to contribute funds just so that the organization could add staff.
Herbert suggested that if the Council gave $10,000 this year, it would double the amount that was given last year.
Councilman Tebbe said the organization’s request was new last year, and he agreed to provide the same amount as last year, $5,000 in Riverboat funds, and Council members agreed — except Cain, who voted against.
Cain also said he was upset about the $10,000 request from Big Brothers-Big sisters and said that he thinks the organization should be given $5,000 of Riverboat funds instead.
Matthew Gauck, a board member of the organization, had said last week that the program continues to grow, and the agency has not given any raises in four years.
The Council agreed with Cain and approved $5,000.
The Council unanimously approved:
$5,000 of Riverboat money for the Greensburg Community Schools to help pay for the salary of Bruce Copple, director of building security and safety.
$5,000 of Economic Development Income Tax funds for the Southeast Indiana Small Business Development Center.
$15,000 in EDIT funds for the Greensburg Learning Center.
$30,000 in EDIT funds for Mainstreet Greensburg.
$5,000 in Riverboat funds for Catch-A-Ride, which provides transportation in six counties including Decatur. Cain said that the organization previously had made higher funding requests and seems to be working hard to reduce its requested amount.
The Council also unanimously approved $60,000 in EDIT funds for the Greensburg/Decatur County Economic Development Corp. – though Cain asked if the EDC would at an any point become self-sufficient.
Tebbe said that in a city the size of Greensburg that was unlikely to happen, but he said given the board’s successes in bringing businesses to the city, he was not interested in micromanaging the EDC’s finances.
The EDC is using Economic Development Income Tax funds to promote business, Tebbe said.
“We’re using the funds in the proper way,” he said.
Cain said he agreed, but simply wanted to ask whether the funding amount would decrease at some point or continue to increase.
Before the Council took action on the requests, Cain suggested that the Council discuss whether to continue to receive requests from the nonprofits or whether it should simply give a certain amount of money to a local foundation, which could then administer the funds as it sees fit.
Cain said if the Council continued with its current procedure, every nonprofit organization will show up to request funds from the Council.
“This bothers me,” Cain said.
Tebbe said that he did not think that going through a foundation would be a more equitable process, and that some of the organizations that are requesting funds, such as economic development, are quasi government organizations.
In addition, City Attorney Christopher Stephen advised that the Council seek input from the Indiana State Board of Accounts to determine whether the agency might object to the Council giving the money to another organization to give away.
Contact: Boris Ladwig 812-663-3111 x7401; firstname.lastname@example.org