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Winners, losers emerge as county distributes cash to agencies

April 19, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Berkeley County Commissioners spread $25,300 in funding among 10 community groups and not-for-profit organizations Tuesday but declined to give money to four others.

A 15th organization, the Williamsport Volunteer Fire Company in Maryland, may receive money later on for serving part of the county, depending on the results of a fund-raising drive.

The commissioners approved the county's 2000-2001 $11.6 million budget in March but waited to split up a $35,000 line in the budget until this week.

The 15 outside agencies requested a total of $147,800.

The largest request came from the Berkeley County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, which asked for $50,000 but received nothing.

The Berkeley County Historical Society and Berkeley County Landmarks, which received a combined $6,987 this year, asked for a total of $23,000 between the two. The commissioners gave $3,800 to the historical society, but nothing to Berkeley County Landmarks.

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The Boarman Arts Center asked for $20,000 "or whatever is possible." The commissioners gave the center $1,000, the same amount as this year.

Other groups - including the Apollo Theatre, Main Street Martinsburg and the Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival - were denied increases in funding. Instead, the commissioners settled on the same amounts as this year. All three received $1,000.

Commissioner Robert Burkhart said cultural efforts may be worthwhile, but they shouldn't get too much funding if they're not attracting many patrons.

Common Purpose of the Panhandle, which requested $21,000, got nothing. County Administrator Deborah Sheetenhelm-Hammond said the group works with men who have been accused of domestic violence.

"I'll support them, but not with dollars and cents," Burkhart said.

The other groups shut out of funding were the Foster Grandparents Program and Telamon, a social services organization.

Berkeley County Crime Solvers, which did not make a specific request, was given $1,500.

Potomac Headwaters RC&D asked for $7,000. The commissioners approved giving $1,000, plus an additional $5,000 if the group gets other funding for a water quality study.

Sheetenhelm-Hammond said the Ruritan Club, a civic group, set out to raise $8,000 to defray the Williamsport Volunteer Fire Company's cost of answering calls in West Virginia. Commission President D. Wayne Dunham said the county pledged to contribute if the Ruritan Club doesn't reach its goal.

The county has not heard how much money has been raised so far, Sheetenhelm-Hammond said Tuesday.

After the commissioners divided $25,300 among the groups, $9,700 was left over from the $35,000 fund.

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