Non-profit organizations request county funds

By Greg Miller

Various non-profit organizations appeared before the Carter County Commission's Budget-Finance Committee Tuesday evening to request that funds for their groups be included in the Commission's budget.
   Terry Arnold spoke on behalf of the Carter County Emergency & Rescue Squad. The organization is asking $320,000 from the Commission, the same amount as last year's request.
   David Nichols addressed the Commission on behalf of the county's seven volunteer fire departments. Nichols asked for $262,500, a $10,500 increase from last year. "That represents $1,500 a department," he said. "We, like everybody else, have experienced a slight increase in our workman's comp, experienced a slight increase in everything." Nichols noted that big improvements have been made in the various departments.
   The seven departments' fund-raising efforts range from the "low 50s" to the high 70s." "It just all depends on what part of the county you're in," Nichols said. "Most notably, Stoney Creek's going to lose one of our funding avenues. We haven't figured out how to roadblock a five-lane highway yet. So when they get that done, that's the end of our roadblocks on Stoney Creek. We have to figure out how to replace that. With the things that we've seen go up, we're going to have to have a little bump, here, there, everywhere. I understand budgets are tight. There's no tighter budgets than the seven volunteer fire department budgets at all. They are tight. We need a little extra money, if there's any way possible."
   Glenna Morton asked that the Commission approve $85,000 for Carter County Emergency 9-1-1. "This amount goes toward dispatchers' salaries," said Morton, who noted that the requested amount is the same amount requested last year. "This year, that amount would be approximately 73 percent of the four dispatchers' salaries that the county funds. And it would be approximately 13 percent of our total operating budget."
   The number of calls has "drastically" increased, according to Morton. "That's the reason that we had to put another full-time dispatcher on." More than 50,000 9-1-1 calls were answered last year.
   Dwain Austin of the Carter County Health Department requested $169,000 from the Commission, an increase of $5,000 from last year. The reason for the increase is a need "for assistance with the utilities at the Annex. The other line items are basically a continuation as far as the health department is concerned. We have projected, based on a five-month study, that we would need at least $27,000 for the utilities. Now if that is based on five months and an extremely mild winter, that could vary as much as 15, 20, 25 percent if we had a cold winter."
   Austin noted that the requested $5,000 increase from the city was not going to be forthcoming. "I also asked the city for $5,000, which would give us $10,000," he said. "We've already been informed that we will not be receiving that. If you can find it, and hopefully you can, we may need more than $5,000 if we're going to keep this facility open.
   "On the positive side of this, the facility has been, I guess, more accepted. People in the community are becoming more aware of it. We now have businesses calling and reserving it. We have established a charge structure. I can't give you the exact amount at this point, but I know several agencies have contributed money back to the county. What we're doing is asking for $100 a day or $12.50 an hour to use that facility.
   "I think as this facility becomes more and more utilized, it has the potential to become viable and support itself. What we need is this money to start up."
   Leigh McKeehan, director of the Carter County Chapter of the American Red Cross, requested $5,000, a $3,500 increase from last year.
   David Ornduff spoke on behalf of the Carter County Library Board, which is requesting $45,500 from the Commission. Of the requested funds, $30,000 would be for operational expenses of the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library, $5,500 would go for the library's automation needs, and $10,000 would be used for a ramp and steps for the library parking lot.
   Alan Jenkins requested $17,000 for the Tennessee Vocational Training Center, the same amount requested last year by TVTC.
   Russell Kinser requested $21,000 for Carter County Soil Conservation District. Haynes Elliott requested $35,000 for Economic and Community Development.
   First Tennessee Human Development Agency requested a total of $27,770 for various programs.
   Other groups requesting funds did not appear. The list includes Shepherd's Inn, $12,000; Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County, $10,000; Pathology, $28,063; FTDD, $4,999; Parks and Recreation, $32,000; Retired Senior Citizens, $1,000; Senior Citizens, $18,000; Emergency Child Care, $3,000; Community Day Care, $1,500; Dawn of Hope, $2,000; and Mental Health, $21,000.