Waynesville discretionary spending reveals trends

In each year’s budget, the Town of Waynesville makes discretionary special appropriations contributions to a plethora of local nonprofits that help support everything from festivals to food for seniors.

This year’s slate, approved at a Waynesville Board of Aldermen meeting June 27, shows total appropriations of $119,000 against requests of $190,400.

That $119,000 is down 27 percent from $163,000 in 2016-17, continuing a trend from 2015-16 when spending topped $192,000 — the highest amount of special appropriations spending dating back to at least the 2012-13 budget year.

Like last year, more than 30 organizations were funded this year, with some of the largest contributions going to some of the most high-profile organizations in town — the Downtown Waynesville Association, Folkmoot and REACH of Haywood County.

The DWA was given the greatest amount at $14,000 — down from $17,000 last year and lower than its requested $15,900 for general operating funds, program funds and a Christmas parade.

Folkmoot scored $10,000 for festival support for the fifth year in a row, but saw a $25,000 request for capital improvements go unanswered; Folkmoot had garnered $70,000 in capital improvement contributions from the town beginning in 2014, including $25,000 last year.

Domestic violence advocacy group REACH has received $46,000 from the town over the past five budget years, including $10,000 in each of the last three budget years; its $12,000 request for 2017-18 will result in a $10,000 contribution.

In-kind utility assistance totaling $10,000 will be rendered to the Open Door Kitchen in Frog Level, the Shelton House Museum of N.C. Handicrafts, and the drafty Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center, where aging windows and a blazing sun blast utility bills through the roof during the organization’s important summer programs.

Other recipients of amounts ranging from $500 to $6,000 include the 30th Judicial District’s domestic violence program, the American Red Cross, ARC of Haywood County, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Commission for a Clean County, Disabled American Veterans, HART, the Haywood County Arts Council, Haywood Pathways Center, the Historic Frog Level Merchants Association, KARE, Haywood County Meals on Wheels, a MLK breakfast, Mountain Mediation, Mountain Projects, the Salvation Army, Tuscola High School’s AFJROTC, the United Way of Haywood County, the Waynesville Historic Preservation Commission and the Waynesville Public Art Commission.

Undesignated funds designated for future use total $5,000.

Not making requests this year were the Babe Ruth Little League, the Good Samaritan Clinic and the Haywood County Rescue Squad. All had sought and been granted contributions in prior years.

Making requests for the first time were the Clyde Fire Department ($4,500), Friends of the Smokies ($5,000) and the Historic Frog Level Merchants Association ($4,500). Frog Level got $4,000, but Clyde and Friends got nothing.

Also left out in the cold, again, were the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce and the Haywood Economic Development Council.

The Chamber’s request for $20,000 was not granted, nor was the EDC’s $5,000 ask. The Chamber hasn’t received a contribution from the town since 2013’s $2,500; the EDC last saw a contribution in 2012, which was $2,000.

Conversely, the Town of Sylva had slated a $2,500 contribution for the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce in its proposed 2017-18 budget; the Town of Franklin proposed to fund the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce at $4,000 in its 2017-18 proposed budget as it had in 2016-17.

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