|It likely would be improper to say that members of the Galesburg City Council may not have the Christmas spirit, but a local organization with Christmas in its name might be feeling like that's the case.
The Galesburg City Council heard during a recent budget work session about the lists of agencies who have made their requests for funding from the city ahead of the 2009 Budget being approved.
There are a number of new organizations requesting funding, including some who have requested funding in the past and haven't received it, and First Ward Alderman Ken Goad says if it were up to him, no one would get any city money. "They're all good causes, there's no doubt about that," Goad said. "But, I'm just not sure we should continue with the amounts they ask for, maybe cut some of them in half or whatever. But it's a slippery road."
One of the organizations aldermen seemed to agree on that wouldn't get any city dollars was Christmas in Action; the group providing repairs to the homes of elderly and disabled residents, only wanted $2,000 from the city. Fifth Ward Alderman Karen Laffery suggested the organization was getting along just fine without city money.
One group the city has denied funding to in the past but may get it this year is the Galesburg Great Balloon Race. They requested $5,000, and canceled this year's event after not enough funds were raised.
Aldermen also asked if Galesburg's Heritage Days had asked for money from the city.
City Manager Dane Bragg says the answer to that question is yes, and no. "We did mail them a letter at the same time we mailed the other organizations, and we did not receive a request by the deadline," Bragg said. "(Heritage Days organizer Bob Franey) did come in a few weeks after the deadline and request to submit (an application for city funding), and we told him that the deadline had passed."
Franey told a print publication this year's event would be canceled if they didn't receive enough funding. The event went on as scheduled in mid-August. It was at that time that Bragg told the organization, after they asked for funding from the city weeks before the event, that they had to go through the same process as other agencies.
The Galesburg Orpheum Theatre receives money from the city every year, but requested an additional $25,000 in Tax Increment Financing District funds in order to do a marketing study. Aldermen, while the budget is not final, were not in favor of that. Also among the requesters, the Galesburg Civic Art Center asked for $25,000 for its capital campaign.
Fourth Ward Alderman Lomac Payton, a former Knox County Board Chair, says maybe the solution is to stop funding every organization. "My experience in the past, when I was on the County Board, we opened it up (for organizations to request funding), and it just kind of mushroomed," Payton said. "Every year, those same organizations would come back for funding, plus new organizations. So we just, we had to draw a line. So we just stopped funding all the organizations. They didn't like it, but you had to do something, you had to draw a line."
Another City Council Budget Work Session is scheduled for Monday night at six.