The commission’s budget and finance committee was able to pass February’s budget amendments with relative ease Monday night.
Deciding which community groups are worthy of the county’s financial support will likely prove to be more of a challenge.
During the hour long meeting representatives from two separate groups appeared before commissioners to appeal for funding for their causes.
Approaching the group first was Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton, who was on hand to advise the commission of the needs of the Community Health of East Tennessee House of Hope.
According to Sexton, the facility, which has provided respite and services for victims of domestic violence and their families for the past 13 years, will soon find itself without a home.
Since its inception House of Hope has been located in a property owned by First Baptist Jacksboro. Now, in order to expand the ministries offered the church finds itself needing to take the property back.
Sexton said House of Hope officials had located a property near LaFollette Middle School that is currently available for purchase at an asking price of $940,000. As Sexton urged commissioners to consider “investing in the protection of individual” he told the group House of Hope already had access to nearly two thirds of the needed cash, they were asking the commission to consider kicking the additional $300,000 needed to push them over the top.
To drive home the need for a domestic violence facility like House of Hope Sexton said during his tenure as criminal court judge he had seen 13 people lose their lives to domestic violence.
“We’ve made a lot of advances in working with victims of domestic violence and without it (House of Hope) we will be going backward. The alternative is scary,” Sexton said.
Commissioners took no action on this request during Monday’s meeting.
Also looking for some financial relief the commission, representatives for the county’s four libraries were on hand to make their pitch for funding.
Eunice Reynolds, of the Campbell County Governing Board of Libraries, made a presentation detailing the vital services provided by each of Campbell County’s libraries.
According to Reynolds, the average retail cost of services received by library patrons, if they had been purchased, was somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.3 million. But, the local libraries were able to provide these mostly free services at a cost of just over $200,000.
Reynolds cited the tough economic times as one of the reasons for the recent increase in library traffic, and many citizens use the library computers to submit online job applications.
In an effort to allow the local libraries to continue the high level of service to the public, Reynolds asked that the commission consider giving the libraries $7,200 to meet some immediate needs during the current fiscal year. In addition, on behalf of the libraries Reynolds also asked the committee to increase the funding by $4,000 per month ($1,000 for each library) during the next budget cycle.
Commissioners Adrion Baird and Stan Marlow made motions to this effect.
Commissioner Lynn Letner warned the group that the funding would be contingent upon the county’s financial state when it was time to develop the 2009-10 budget.