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City contributions to Horse Park, theater on the chopping block


Carl Smith



The amount of money Starkville gives outside groups, including the Mississippi Horse Park and Starkville Community Theater, is expected to decrease in the upcoming fiscal year as the city's budget committee slashed a $1.5 million wish list to an amount about $41,000 shy of current contributions. 


The three-person committee proposed lowering funding streams to the two groups and the Boys and Girls Club a combined $14,000, while most other organizations are forecasted to receive their current allocations next fiscal year. 


SCT's decrease puts the organization back to its FY 2012-2013 funding mark of $3,500, while the Boys and Girls Club only received $1,500 in that fiscal year compared to its current $7,500 allotment. 


Both organizations requested level funding for FY 2014-2015. 


The former incarnation of the budget committee, then comprised by all seven aldermen, cut the Mississippi State University-operated park's funding from $50,000 to $40,000 last year, and the current three-person group -- Ward 5 Alderman and Chairman Scott Maynard, Ward 2 Alderman Lisa Wynn and Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins -- signaled the city's intent to continue yearly $10,000 cuts.  


Horse Park officials originally asked the city for $75,000 in FY 2014-2015. 


Aldermen found additional savings by decreasing the city's OCH Regional Medical Center ambulance commitment from $40,000 to $15,000. The commitment is supposed to serve as a grant match, Maynard said, but the hospital only received a $14,194 grant for emergency services last year. The city's commitment will cover a similar match in the coming fiscal year. 


The committee also dialed back Starkville-Oktibbeha County Public Library's funding to FY 2012-2013's $170,400 mark. The city increased its funding stream by $18,000 for this fiscal year, but that increase represented a one-time payment for roof repairs.  


The library requested $185,600, or $15,000 in additional funding, for the upcoming year. 


Numerous other outside contributions, including funding streams for OSERVS ($5,000), Greater Starkville Development Partnership ($20,000), Heritage Museum ($5,000), Oktibbeha County Humane Society ($106,000) and MSU's game day shuttle ($3,500) are expected to remain level. 


The city's $940,400 commitment to Starkville Park Commission, an-almost $100,000 increase from FY 2012-2013's mark that Perkins lobbied for last year, will remain level and is expected to be the largest outside contribution in the upcoming year.  


SPC required additional funding to tend to rising costs and mounting late fees associated with its electricity bill. 


Volunteer Starkville's funding stream is expected to increase $1,000 next year to $2,500, while Starkville Area Arts Council's contribution should also jump $500 to $3,500. 


SAAC originally sought $10,000 in contributions, while VS asked for $3,500. 


The budget committee's recommendations are not formal and will be reviewed by the entire Starkville Board of Aldermen before it sets the city's budget in September.  


FY 2014-2015 begins Oct. 1.


Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch



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