Agency money: How it’s divided

Published 9:00 pm Thursday, July 29, 2010

As local government officials begin the budgeting process in the coming months, it won’t just be the city of Troy with some looming decisions to make.

Faced already with funding requests from several new agencies hoping to make it in Troy’s budget come Oct. 1, both the Pike County Commission and the city of Brundidge expect to have some requests of their own in making agency appropriations.

For both Troy and Brundidge, the appropriation process is similar in there is no set amount given to area agencies.

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Funding is based on the cities’ budgets as a whole, and the councils use their discretion in deciding where to give money.

“Normally we’ll get requests between now and the middle of September at the latest from anyone seeking funding from the city,” said Brundidge City Manager Britt Thomas. “That is all presented to the council during budget work sessions…and it makes a decision on who we can support.”

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said the city of Troy’s appropriations is mixed as part of its entire budget, as well.

“It is not a charge of the city to give to agencies,” Lunsford said.

“If it gets down to an extremely tight budget, appropriations would be cut before we cut firemen, policemen, necessary services.”

While the Pike County Commission isn’t bound in its ability to make funding appropriations, its typically gives within a certain amount.

By law, the county is required to allot $150,000 each year to area agencies looking for assistance from sales tax funds.

County Administrator Harry Sanders said in the past, the commission has gone above that amount and donated additional funding to some organizations from its General budget.

“The commission can choose to go above and beyond that,” Sanders said.

An example is the commission recently voted to give the Soil and Water Conservation District $20,000, an amount above the $10,000 it gives from the appropriations account.

This year, the commission gave funding to 20 agencies through that fund. Sanders said no new organizations have made requests for money yet, but some of those currently receiving county funding have asked for greater amounts.

“I think basically everybody’s asking for more than what they have gotten in the past,” Sanders said.

“I’m sure it will be a tough year for a lot of folks. People are losing money from other sources, so they are trying to get more from ones that keep funding them.”

Sanders said he couldn’t say exactly which agencies have sent in formal requests, but he said he expects more will come as the commission begins its budget hearing process at the end of next month.

Thomas said Brundidge, which gives money now to six agencies, hasn’t received any different requests.

The total amount given in the last year was $81,000, split between East Central Mental Health, Organized Community Action Program, the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, the Pike County Economic Development Corporation, the Pike Area Transit System and the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center.

The largest funding goes to ECMH, with $30,000 for both the summer program and the center in general.

For both Troy and Brundidge, the appropriations are technically a contract for services between cities and the organizations.

In Troy’s budget this year, the city has given a total of around $509,000 to 18 agencies.

The largest funding goes to the library, in the amount of $145,000 per year.

Troy, unlike the other county government agencies, has already received several new requests for more funding.

Those include an annual $82,000 for the Pike Animal Shelter, around $20,000 for the Boys and Girls Club and an increase to $20,000 or $30,000 for the Pike County EMA funds. In addition, the city will consider funding for a new Troy Public Library, estimated to cost around $4 million, though that money would not be considered an appropriation.