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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Outside agencies to appeal for funds
Special budget work session set Thursday

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Agencies outside the city’s realm will be asked to explain to Martinsville City Council why they need city funds in fiscal 2014.

The city’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year, which will start July 1, includes a total of $1,720,225 for 23 outside agencies. That is down less than 1 percent from the $1,733,775 appropriated for the agencies for the current fiscal year.

Because of tight finances, city officials expect representatives of all of the agencies to attend a council budget work session Thursday to explain why their agencies need city funds. The meeting is set from 6-9 p.m. in the Municipal Building.

Agencies should be prepared to detail their accomplishments in the current fiscal year, new programs or expenses they will have in the coming year and how getting less funding would affect them, said Vice Mayor Gene Teague.

If agencies do not send someone to speak at the work session, they may not be funded, said City Manager Leon Towarnicki.

He emphasized, however, such funding ultimately is “a decision the council would have to make” because it holds the city’s purse strings.

Most agencies — including the Boys & Girls Clubs, SPCA, Virginia Museum of Natural History, Piedmont Arts Association, Patrick Henry Community College and Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. — are proposed to receive the same amounts they got this year.

The Martinsville-Henry County 911 Center’s allocation for fiscal 2014 is set to rise from $327,182 to $351,019. Towarnicki said the increase is the city’s share of compensation for two dispatchers that the center aims to hire due to an increasing volume of emergency calls.

Under an agreement, the county provides 70 percent of the center’s funds and the city provides 30 percent.

The budget proposal gives Piedmont Community Services an extra $1,000, bringing its allocation to $56,432, to cover the agency’s costs to administer a grant that pays for crisis intervention training for police officers.

Henry-Martinsville Social Services’ local funding is proposed to go up from $325,443 to $349,017, reflecting the city’s share of hiring a maintenance worker the agency needs, the spending plan shows.

City funds for the Henry-Martinsville Health Department are proposed to rise from $193,961 to $203,010. Reached while traveling on Friday, Towarnicki said he did not have the paperwork showing the reason for the increase.

City Finance Director Linda Conover could not be reached for comment.

Towarnicki said, though, that with state-overseen agencies such as the health department, the agencies present their local funding request to the localities, which basically are obliged to provide the funds based on the 70-30 split.

In contrast, the outside agencies which are proposed to get level funding are “ones we make voluntary contributions to,” Towarnicki said of the city.

The only agency proposed to receive less city funding for fiscal 2014 is the Blue Ridge Regional Library. The budget proposal reduces the library system’s funds from $321,143 to $289,696.

Towarnicki said the reduction stems from the system no longer operating the Bassett Historical Center.


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