Ocean City Today

Commissioner Elder likens nonprofits to stray animals

By Brian Gilliland | May 10, 2018

(May 11, 2018) While a couple of Worcester County Commissioners said they would rather not spend any money at all on nonprofit or charitable organizations, they’ll have to be content with providing the lowest level of funding in the past three years.

In fiscal 2017, the county provided $95,000 to a mixture of causes, and the year-to-date spending, according to proposed expenditure reports used in formulating the fiscal 2019 budget, is $105,500.

This week during its budget work session, the commissioners took the expenditure recommendation of county staff to spend $85,000 and cut another $30,000 from it.

Commissioner Vice President Ted Elder likened the nonprofits seeking county support to homeless animals.

“They’re all worthy causes, but it’s like feeding stray cats. Pretty soon you’re feeding all of them and they keep coming back,” he said.

Commissioner Jim Bunting agreed, and said he would support Worcester County adopting the policy of Wicomico County and not providing any funding at all to nonprofit or charitable organizations.

“It’s not charity. Pocomoke pays taxes, and we neglect Pocomoke in a lot of different ways,” Commissioner President Diana Purnell said.

Purnell lambasted the board for haggling over $10,000 for lights for use by Pocomoke Little League after appropriating $500,000 for an athletic field for Stephen Decatur High School.

“What is $10,000 compared to $500,000 in the north end? This is not charity we’re doing here,” she said.

Pocomoke ended up coming out ahead in this instance, as the Little League got half its requested $20,000, the Mar-Va Theater got the $15,000 it was seeking, and the Delmarva Discovery Center got half of its request — $20,000.

Furnacetown, outside of Snow Hill, got $10,000 of its $40,000 request, finishing off the only organizations to get county funds in the proposed FY19 budget.

Left out were the Art League of Ocean City, the Girdletree Foundation and the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council. The resort’s Ocean City Development Corporation did get funding under another section heading in the document.

“We’re going to need to mobilize a little bit,” Rina Thaler, executive director for the Ocean City Art League, said. “I think it’s short sighted. It’s not about charity, but creating a better community. The government is there to provide services to make the community more livable for everyone.”

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