Pocahontas County Commission To Consider Community Group Requests On Quarterly Basis
Marlinton, Wv – The Pocahontas County Commission is taking a proactive approach to granting community contribution requests. At the Commission meeting this past Tuesday, they discussed how best to consider these requests. In the last three fiscal years, the Commission has spent over $247,000.00 in unbudgeted contributions to various community groups.
Commissioner Martin Saffer says groups who want money from the county should present their requests in writing and also in person before the Commission.
“We can have an update about what’s going on, what are we spending our money on, instead of just giving out money because somebody writes a letter” says Saffer. “Now sometimes we do that; I don’t think that’s sufficient. I think they need to get the press, number one, and number two, we as a Commission need to know exactly what they’re spending the money on.”
Saffer says he also bothered that some groups have come to consider money from the county coffers as part of their annual budget.
“We have become the sort of paymaster for these groups that come in year after year, and we’re sort of part of their payroll” says Saffer. “I think we need to take a good hard look what is the necessity of paying all these groups.”
“Let me give you a prime example. We gave money to CASA [Court Appointed Special Advocates], we gave money to the Family Refuge Center, we give money to Community Corrections, we give money to CYAC [Child and Youth Advocacy Center]. Those are all agencies which touch and concern one subject.”
In this case, that subject is abused children. Saffer says the Commission should look at these groups collectively rather than individually when deciding how to distribute their discretionary funding. Commission President David Fleming says they should also try to spread the money out over the course of the fiscal year.
“We should have a goal by half way through the fiscal year of not having spent more than half the money we’ve allotted” he says. “Throttle the money and pace it. The purpose of the meetings is to award some and deny others.”
“It doesn’t matter when it happens or how much money we have. The thing about throttling the money is just to make sure we have money at all times, a little bit when we consider these funding requests. I presume that every single [funding] meeting we have, somebody’s not going to get funded – that’s just going to be the way it is.”
After further discussion, the Commissioners decided to hold four meetings based on their fiscal year – in August, November, February and May. They will consider requests for the remainder of this fiscal year at the May 3rd Commission meeting. Any community group wishing to get a contribution prior to June 30th is urged to submit a written request to the Commission, if they have not already done so.