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Agencies request more than $1M in funding from Danville

Monday, City Manager Ron Scott prepared Danville City Commission for its upcoming agency funding requests meeting, which will happen on March 21. It will go mostly the same as in the past, he said, with one exception: funding requests have totaled $1,000,090 for the new fiscal year, which is an increase of $388,090 from how much the city gave out last year.

Scott said the commission will follow the same procedure it enacted in 2018 — “We didn’t hear from those agencies that we’re quite familiar with and have funded for years, only those making new requests.” The commission had no objection to following those guidelines.

However, Mayor Mike Perros said he would like the Heart of Danville to be included as a presenting agency, “because they are asking for such a large number” — $110,000 total.

Last year, the Heart received $72,500 from Danville; in years before that, it had received $110,000 in funding that was routed from Danville through the Economic Development Partnership.

Perros said since the organization is asking for the increase and currently has an interim director, “we need to know what their direction is.”

“We can do that,” Scott said.

The Heart is currently led by interim director Dustin Duvall, who was marketing manager, until Nick Wade resigned from the director position to take another main-street development job in northern Kentucky.

Scott said the agency “may have a different focus or plan on how they plan to provide services to the community.”

In the past, he said the Heart’s funding request had been submitted in conjunction with the Economic Development Partnership’s request, since it is under the EDP umbrella, but the agency was “encouraged to speak for themselves” last year.

Thursday, Scott said the Heart was funded $72,500 last go-around. “We haven’t had an explanation of the workplan and all of that.” He said he plans on having further communication with the director and chair of the board.

“We want to get together and talk about their needs and what their plans are, maybe ahead of the budget requests,” Scott said.

This year, community agency requests total $455,700, more than doubling what the city funded last year, which was $209,500. There are also four shared agencies that are jointly funded by Danville and Boyle County — Parks & Recreation; the Economic Development Partnership; Planning & Zoning; and the Danville-Boyle County Airport Board of Directors. Those four have requested $544,390; they were funded a total of $402,500 last year.

Scott said he is a bit surprised by the overall increase in funding requests from both community agencies and partnership agencies.

“Last year, the city commission as a body and individually had communicated the fact that our pursestrings were tighter, and funding was reduced somewhat last year as a result,” he said. “They were trying to suggest to our community it would be more difficult to find money to meet those needs.”

Scott said the city is currently dealing with requirements to “step up another 12 percent” for pension contributions, which resulted in costs of around $250,000-$300,000 last year.

“We’re looking for results,” Scott said, in terms of what’s to be expected during the funding request presentations.

Scott said the city doesn’t anticipate ending funding for any of the four joint-funded agencies — “but we have to have an effective way of measuring success.”

“I think our commission’s goal is to help with community agencies, but not have them become annually dependent upon the city for continued operations,” Scott said. “That was the philosophy of the commission saying, ‘We’ll fund, but we’re going to reduce because we’d like for you to become more self-sufficient.’”

A few community agencies did not seek funding this year.

“Community Arts Center declined to request additional funding,” Scott said. The city owns CAC’s building and takes care of some of the expenses, “so we’re looking at the appropriateness of what we pay for the contractual agreement,” he said.

Big Brothers Big Sisters also did not ask for funding.

New on the requesting list is Shepherd’s House, a non-residential drug treatment program. “Because of the opioid addiction problem, their idea is to expand the opportunity to counseling services to those who would benefit from that on a volunteer basis rather than restrict it …” to those in the jail system, Scott said.

Another large request comes from Wilderness Trace Child Development Center, a very worthy operation, Scott said. He said they were funded more than $20,000 in 2017; around $16,000 last year; and now are asking for $25,000. “So, that was a step up, too.”

But the biggest increased request, he said, is the funding for Bluegrass Community and Technical College, which the city already pledged $150,000 to over the course of two years to help it meet a $1 million match for a grant.

Scott said there are a total of 24 community agencies seeking funding.

The agencies who will present information to the Danville City Commission on March 21 for funding requests are:

• new community agencies — Shepherd’s House, Soul of 2nd Street Festival and Heart of Danville;

• city/county joint agencies — Danville-Boyle County Airport Board, Economic Development Partnership, Parks & Recreation and Planning & Zoning; and

• existing agencies (presenting due to requested increase) — Great American Brass Band Festival and Wilderness Trace Child Development.

Scott said letters were mailed to each agency Thursday requesting attendance on March 21 for presentations.