11 groups ask for $618,000 from town
by Mike Parks
Mint Hill leaders have to figure out exactly how much cash to give 11 local nonprofits requesting money from the town’s budget.
Nonprofits can request budget support from the town, and this year the nonprofits requested in all $618,000. Town Manager Brian Welch has already recommended funding only 59 percent of that, or $365,700, though there’s still time for debate on the 2012-13 fiscal budget.
“I have to have a budget presented for public review by June 1,” said Welch, who will present his final budget proposal to town leaders on May 23.
A copy of the proposed budget will then be made available for the public to see, and a public hearing will be held. A final budget must be approved by July 1. Copies of the budget will be available at Mint Hill’s town hall, 7151 Matthews-Mint Hill Road.
Here’s a breakdown of requests from local nonprofits:
Mint Hill Athletic Association
Manager’s recommendation: $60,000
The Mint Hill Athletic Association provides baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, football and cheerleading seasons for kids 4 to 18. The association got $60,000 from the town last year, which made up roughly 18 percent of the group’s 2011-12 budget. The same would hold true this year if the association gets the $60,000 from the town.
Along with helping keep costs down for families that take part in the association’s seasons, as well as offering scholarships for children in need, the group would use part of that $60,000 for capital improvements to its 32-acre facility. Some changes have to be made to the fields to accommodate new Little League rules, such as the distance between bases and the distance from home plate to the outfield wall.
Mint Hill Historical Society
Manager’s recommendation: $60,000
The Mint Hill Historical Society again asked for much more money than Welch suggests giving, after having asked for $200,000 last year – they got $60,000 then, too. That made up 62 percent of the society’s funding last year.
The society preserves artifacts of the town’s history and uses that for educational opportunities with kids and adults. The $282,000 the group asked for this year would: build a barn to hold demonstrations and gatherings; replace three computers; restore a vintage tractor and build housing for the tractor; move a two-story log cabin to the historic village; and pay some employees. The society would like to spend $200,000 alone this year on new building projects, and $100,000 on restoration and preservation projects.
Idlewild Volunteer Fire Department
Manager’s recommendation: $190,000
The Idlewild Volunteer Fire Department isn’t asking so far for an increase in money this year from last year’s request, but Mint Hill worries that won’t be the case much longer.
Idlewild serves both Matthews and Mint Hill, and Mint Hill leaders worry their neighbors in Matthews won’t need Idlewild as much in the future with Matthews growing its own fire department. And, if Matthews decides one day to stop funding Idlewild, that burden may fall on Mint Hill. Matthews doesn’t start discussing its budget until May 14. Mint Hill currently funds 35 percent of the department’s budget, as does Matthews. The rest comes from Mecklenburg County and Mecklenburg County MEDIC.
The volunteer fire department responded to 2,311 calls, 615 of which were for fires, in 2011. They serviced another 1,785 EMS calls. The department serves the area Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. with four certified firefighter/EMTs on duty.
Of the requested $190,000 from Mint Hill, $30,000 would go toward buying a fire engine. The department will need another $30,000 next year for the engine, as well, when it plans to ask for $250,000.
Of the department’s projected $541,500 in funds from the towns and county, $165,000 would pay for salaries and other payroll expenses. Some $40,000 would go for supplies, and more than $69,000 for vehicle expenses like maintenance and fuel.
Levine Senior Center
Manager’s Recommendation: $5,000
The Levine Senior Center isn’t asking for much in $10,000. In fact, the cash would only make up 1 percent of the center’s yearly budget.
The center offers free health and wellness programs and classes to seniors, ages 50 and older, many of whom have health-related issues with arthritis, limited mobility and balance. Roughly 21 percent of the people served by the center live in Mint Hill.
Of the $484,767 budget the center had in 2010 (the latest available numbers), it spent nearly $188,000 on management and general expenses and a little more than $105,000 on activities and programs.
Mint Hill Scottish Society
Manager’s Recommendation: $13,700
The Mint Hill Scottish Society is asking for some extra money from the town to support the annual Highland Games. The games, which take place May 4 and 5 for the eighth year, celebrate Scottish heritage with events like the recognition of clans and societies and entertainment and vendors appropriate for the culture.
The money will go toward infrastructure costs for the event, and for insurance, publicity and electricity. The society also needs to pay off-duty Mint Hill Police Department officers for traffic control and security, and off-duty personnel from the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department for medic services.
Last year’s event saw more than 5,000 people attend, and organizers hope it keeps growing. This year’s budget request would make up 12 percent of the nonprofit’s funds for the year.
Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce
Manager’s Recommendation: $16,000
The Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce is asking for $8,000 more than last year, somewhat in part to pay for the creation of new marketing material for Mint Hill Madness.
The chamber, which runs the annual festival and parade, is planning to partner with a local high school art department to create a new logo for Mint Hill Madness. That caused some concern for town leaders, however, who don’t want to pay for new banners and marketing for the festival just because the chamber wants to switch from an already well-known logo.
But the chamber hopes the campaign behind creating a new logo will help bring even more attention to the festival.
In all, the chamber wants a $14,000 grant from the town just for the festival, providing the chamber with a little more than $70,000 to spend on next year’s event. Some $5,000 of that would pay for banners and signs, and $10,000 would be a nonprofit donation. Chamber leaders did not return a call regarding that donation by Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly’s press deadline.
Other than that, the chamber expects some minor line item increases in costs for the next festival. This request would leave the town paying for 19 percent of the next Mint Hill Madness, and 8 percent of the chamber’s regular budget.
Generation Nation/Kids Voting Mecklenburg
Manager’s Recommendation: $2,500
The group, which recently changed names to Generation Nation, educates children about government, leaders and citizens and holds mock votes and presentations in schools across the area. The group offers these programs to some 7,500 local students and teachers.
At a recent meeting, town leaders expressed an interest in making sure Generation Nation includes more local races in their programs instead of just larger races like that for president or governor.
The money would make up 2.5 percent of the group’s budget next year, which is estimated at $115,000.
Korean War Veterans Association
Manager’s Recommendation: $10,000
The Korean War Veterans Association provides services to veterans of the Korean War and their families, such as burial honor guards, memorial services and more. They’re also leading the charge on the under-construction N.C. Korean War Veterans Memorial, which is being built at the Park on Fairview.
The money will help the group complete the memorial, which will then be donated to the town. The group’s still working to pay off some loans for the project, which is estimated to cost $502,000 when finished.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4059
Manager’s Recommendation: $2,000
The local post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars wants $2,000 from the town to pay for activities aimed at increasing membership. The group also wants to spend some cash on aiding veterans in the area and local nonprofits, and to purchase uniforms for the group’s color guard.
The money will make up 10 percent of the post’s budget.
Mint Hill Arts
Manager’s Recommendation: $5,000
Mint Hill Arts is asking the town to fund 30 percent of their budget next year. The town currently funds 10 percent of Mint Hill Arts’ budget.
The group wants the cash in order to put on programming, classes and events to make up for cuts to the arts in local schools. It saw 5,200 people take part in such events last year, not to mention hundreds more who viewed galleries.
The arts group would spend more than $7,000 of their estimated $65,590 budget on legal and professional fees, and another $11,000 on printing and publicity. The group needs nearly $24,000 for rent. Other expenditures include art supplies, at $1,000; awards, at $2,000; and $1,680 for speakers and models.
Mint Hill Lions Club
Manager’s Recommendation: $1,500
The Mint Hill Lions Club hopes to get $1,500 to help them promote the 15th annual Mint Hill Madness 5K. The event is a fundraiser for the club, which distributes donations across the area and pays for college scholarships for kids at Independence High School. The group also was able last year to send special-needs students to Camp Thunderbird thanks to money raised at the 5K.
The $1,500 would make up 10 percent of the group’s budget for the year.