Nonprofits request funding for FY 2019

Published 1:32 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Last Monday, six organizations presented funding requests to Franklin’s City Council during a work session on the city’s budget for fiscal year 2018-2019.

First to present was Dan Howe, executive director of the Downtown Franklin Association, who requested $120,000 for the coming fiscal year. According to City Manager R. Randy Martin, this request is approximately $10,000 more than what the council funded the DFA for the current fiscal year.

Making his case for the funding, Howe highlighted the DFA’s successful Startup Downtown program, which resulted in five new businesses opening in downtown Franklin, three of which were winners of the Startup contest. He added that two more murals are planned for the downtown area in 2018.

Next to speak was Jenny Bakos, executive director of the Blackwater Regional Library, who requested $282,567, an increase of approximately $28,955 over what the city had funded the library for the current fiscal year. Bakos said that part of the increase in funding would be used to give raises to the library’s lowest-paid employees. The need to do so, she said, was identified in a recently completed salary study by the library’s board of trustees, which began in April of last year.

Next, Lorraine Green-Whitehead of Smart Beginnings requested $15,000, which is the same amount the early childhood education nonprofit requested from the city for the current fiscal year. In addition to the City of Franklin, Smart Beginnings receives local government funding from Isle of Wight and Southampton counties.

Next to speak was Michael Stultz, representing the Legal Aid Society, who requested $3,000. The Legal Aid Society is a nonprofit law firm headquartered in Lynchburg that provides free civil legal services to low-income residents in 20 counties and six cities in Virginia, including Franklin. Making his case for funding, which the city had not provided in past years, Stultz said that in calendar year 2017, the Legal Aid Society closed 58 individual cases in Franklin and recovered over $44,000 for Franklin city residents.

Next to speak was Dr. Dan Lufkin, president of Paul D. Camp Community College, who requested $11,785, an increase of $6,655 over what the city had funded the college at the beginning of the current fiscal year. Lufkin said that some of the funding would be used for improvements to the physical structures on PDCCC’s Franklin campus.

“The goal is to make the Franklin campus a gem where we become the region’s first choice for post-secondary education,” Lufkin said. “To do that, we need that curb appeal, and we can’t do that without local funding.”

Last to speak was Ashley Greene, the director of development for the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, who requested $37,000. This, according to Martin, would be a $33,000 increase over the $4,000 that City Council funded to the clinic at the beginning of the current fiscal year. Making her case for the funding, Greene said that the clinic served 161 Franklin residents in calendar year 2017, amounting to about 10 percent of the clinic’s total patient population. The clinic’s request for fiscal year 2018-2019, she said, would cover approximately 31 patients.

“We are finding in Western Tidewater we are No. 1 in breast cancer mortality in all districts in Virginia,” Greene said. “We think it’s because of late-stage diagnosis. With us, you can get early screenings.”

Martin said the council is scheduled to have three more work sessions for its budget for 2018-2019, on April 16, 17 and 19 respectively. The council is also scheduled to have a joint meeting with the city’s school board on April 10 to officially receive the division’s funding request for the 2018-2019 school year. The joint meeting with the school board will be at 7 p.m. in the first-floor conference room of the Franklin Business Center.

All other work sessions will be at 7 p.m. in the council chamber of city hall.

The city’s budget will again be discussed at the regular scheduled council meeting on April 23, with an additional budget work session scheduled for April 30 and a public hearing scheduled for May 14. The earliest the council will consider action is May 21 for the school division budget and June 4 for all other budget requests. The 2018-2019 budget will go into effect July 1.