County will be hurt by funding cuts

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Staff Writer

Several Pike County agencies found themselves on the outside looking in as the Pike County Commission approved an $8.887 million budget that left many previously funded agencies empty-handed.

The hardest fact to swallow wasn’t that the funds were cut, but that the funds were completely cut, and from such important programs.

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"I don’t know a lot about all of the programs that were cut, but I can tell you that they need to figure a way to fund the USDA/Soil and Water program," Jimmy Shaver said. "USDA/Soil and Water funnels about $1million into Pike County and they only ask for about $17,000 or $18,000 in funding each year."

In addition to losing the monetary differentials gained by funding the programs, Pike County will also suffer because these agencies will lose ‘match’ money. The state

of Alabama will match certain amounts of money in the form of grants, but if the agencies fail to contribute their part then the grants are lost.

"I think that they could at least provide partial funding," Shaver said. "We don’t need to cut funding totally we just need to find a way to use all of our funds wisely."

For all of the programs that won’t receive funding there are still programs that are being funded. So how do you decide what agency falls where on a list of importance, and which ones to cut? That was the job that the Pike County Commission was faced with last week as they decided to drop 12 programs from the budget. No matter what agencies were left out, though, it’s obvious it will have an impact on the county.

"I’m really sorry to hear about the cuts in the county budget because those agencies provide beneficial services in our county that will definitely be missed," Beverly Taylor said.

Those agencies that will be without funding are USDA/Soil and Water, Wiregrass RC&D, Watershed Management Authority, the Alabama Forestry Commission, PIke County Health Department, East Central Mental Health-Mental Retardation, RSVP, the nutrition center, Organized Community Action Program, Pike Library Cooperative, the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, and the Auburn Extension Service.

Although these agencies were left to provide for themselves the commission did say that funding will be provided as it becomes available.

"I believe that there will be a lot of people effected by the cuts, but the worst part is that a lot of the people that (the agencies) help will be hurt," Mike Thomas said. "I understand that they may be in a bind financially, but it’s really going to hurt Pike County."