Early county budget cuts nonprofits

April 04, 1997


Staff Writer

Most nonprofit groups that receive money from Washington County face funding freezes or cuts, according to figures in a preliminary county budget discussed at a work session Tuesday.

The preliminary budget would cut total cash contributions to nonprofit groups by $101,710, or about 2.7 percent. Total contributions to nonprofits in the budget are $3.8 million.

Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said Wednesday that the matter would be discussed further.

"There is only so much money to go around and the commissioners have a lot of hard decisions to make," Snook said.


In the preliminary budget, the commissioners restored $78,000 in funding for groups including the United Way and the Washington County Commission on Aging, but took the money out of a $250,000 nonprofit educational grant.

They set fiscal year 1998 United Way funding at $25,000, half of this year's level, and down from $100,000 in fiscal year 1996. The fiscal year begins July 1.

United Way spokeswoman Maureen Theriault said the charity understand the commissioners face budget constraints.

Commission on Aging funding was set at $300,000, down from $319,500 this year and $350,000 in fiscal year 1996.

A staff proposal had eliminated funding for United Way and had suggested funding of $250,000 for the Commission on Aging.

Fred Otto, executive director of the commission on aging, said that cuts in county funding, combined with cuts in state and federal funding, have resulted in cutbacks in services to senior citizens and reductions in staff.

Funding for most other nonprofits is being held at last year's figure. The Washington County Fire and Rescue Association is scheduled to get an additional $12,900, and Community Action Council funding would rise $14,090.

Commissioner James Wade said that tip jar gaming, from which many organizations get money - particularly fire and rescue companies - should be considered in their funding.

Other charities that would take funding hits include Children's Village, which would drop to $10,000 from $15,000; Washingon County Food Resources, which would drop to $5,000 from $10,000; and Senior Living Alternative, which would drop to $15,000 from $20,000.

For the first time, the list of contributions shows $190,550 from in-kind donations to nonprofits. County Administrator Rodney Shoop told the commissioners that the county wouldn't provide new services; the change simply lists what the county is already providing the charities.

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