With the end of budget season looming, several local organizations visited Monday's City Council meeting to provide final requests to the group.
Four groups, the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency, Jamestown Senior Center, Fenton Historical Center and Jamestown Prendergast Library Association, were in attendance to speak to the council.
Mark Marchincin, financial director for JURA, brought up the raising retirement costs that his agency is facing. According to Marchincin, in 2009, JURA contributed $53,457 to the state retirement system. Similar to many other agencies though, JURA has seen significant increases in their mandated contributions. It is projected that for 2013, they will be mandated to contribute $99,741, nearly double the contribution from 2009.
Marchincin also said that CDBG and HOME funding for JURA has decreased by a significant amount during the last decade. In numbers that were presented to the council, it was shown that between the two sources, JURA had lost $949,924 in funding over the last decade, which in turn resulted in a loss in administrative revenue to JURA over that time of $167,381. JURA has also seen a substantial decrease in the amount of revenue collected from the interest on the non-loaned portion of their Jamestown Local Development Corporation portfolio.
"In terms of percentage of the total city budget, we're just a sliver at 1 percent, but we're asked to do quite a bit with what we get," said Marchincin. "Taking these hits into consideration, we may not be able to continue on with what we're doing if we get cut or we're not increased to where we should be funded."
According to Marchincin, a decade ago a building could be demolished for roughly $5,000. Now, because of newer regulations, building demolitions can cost upward of $20,000. Demolitions, which make up a large portion of the money that JURA utilizes, have become extremely expensive.
"They average between $20,000 and $25,000," said Marchincin, "and some can go even higher than that."
"We're really struggling with this senior center," said Shirley Vandenburg, executive director of Jamestown Area Senior Citizens. "The bottom line for us is projected at a deficit of about $2,200 for the next year."
According to Vandenburg, she almost shut down the program last fall, but was able to get the money necessary to pay insurance costs in order to keep it running.
"I've cut down on this budget as much as I can, with supplies and postage and everything else, but there isn't anywhere else to cut. We're okay for now, but I don't know what's going to happen come next August."
Currently, the program provides activities including bingo, exercise and tai chi, line dancing, bowling and monthly meetings. The group has also taken several day trips as well as a week trip to Cape Cod earlier this year. Furthermore, they offer community services including a flu clinic, free income tax help and driving courses for seniors.
FENTON HISTORICAL CENTER
According to Joni Blackman, Fenton Historical Center director, their 2013 budget of almost $140,000 is comprised mainly of the $90,000 which is used for payroll for six employees.
"The parks department is a big help to us, they help with the maintenance budget and the utility payments," said Blackman. "We've also recently done some work on the boiler and the heater registers to make them more efficient. Next year, we will need to have some roof work done on the mansion. We'll have to do some good patching, but I don't think we'll need an entire replacement."
JAMES PRENDERGAST LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
The James Prendergast Library Association is requesting a 2 percent budget increase, or $7,440, for its city funding for 2013.
According to state law, if local funding to a central library is cut by an average of 5 percent over two years, state funding can be cut by as much as 25 percent. That could mean a loss of $251,661 if the state funding were to be cut. Based on last year's figures, a reduction of $18,600 in funding to the library could result in a loss of state funds.
Tina Scott, acting director of the James Prendergast Library, said that in 2012 the library began reopening on Sundays, as well as extending its weekly hours. Through use of email notifications, the library was able to save an estimated $7,398 between postage and staffing costs, but these measures don't necessarily make up for other areas where funds are lacking.
"Fundraising is down considerably for 2012, which is a big concern," said Scott. "We also recently ended a three-year broadband technology grant, which was worth $244,517. One of our main concerns for the 2013 budget is state funding. We get some state funding through the system, but we don't yet know what that's going to be. I don't foresee cuts this year, but until I see it in print, it's difficult. Local fundraising is also down and our health insurance costs increased by 12.2 percent. We also applied for a construction grant through the state to make our restrooms ADA compliant, which I think is a big thing for a public building."
"We are very thankful for what we get, because if we didn't get it, we would be in trouble," said Scott.
The City Council will be meeting on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. to approve the 2013 budget for the city of Jamestown.