TALLAHASSEE – During the June 28 Tallahassee City Commission meeting and after much public outcry, city commissioners requested the $10,000 donation to Honor Flight Tallahassee be added back to the proposed 2018 city budget.
Commissioners Curtis Richardson and Gil Ziffer both requested the city’s contribution be reinstated to this organization which transports North Florida and South Georgia veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit memorials dedicated to honoring their service and sacrifices. City Manager Rick Fernandez confirmed that it would be in the next 2018 proposed budget.
Legal Services of North Florida (LSNF), the only other outside organization to see its budget reduced to zero in next year’s proposed budget, has not been so lucky so far.
Richardson said the $50,000 dedicated to LNSF in both the 2016 and 2017 budgets were only supposed to be a stop-gap for the organization until its state funding difficulties were resolved.
Not-for-profits, like LSNF, are usually directed to Community Human Service Partnership Program (CHSP), a partnership between the city, county and the United Way (the United Way has since pulled out), to apply for funding. The city, county and United Way each put money in a “pot” and distributed it to the not-for-profits. The goal was to help the not-for-profits avoid having to approach each group for funding.
In addition to its annual award from CHSP, LSNF approached the city for additional funding from the 2016 city budget until a problem with state funding was resolved. The following year, LSNF requested the funding again. 2018 would mark the third year for this “stop-gap” measure, according to Richardson.
“We have a 4.5 million deficit and we had to start looking for every nickel and dime we could find,” said Richardson, “and that’s why that money is being recommended to be cut out of the budget this year.”
He continued, “We certainly value the services they provide in the community and that’s why we have been able to provide this additional funding for the past two years, but it puts us in a difficult position with the other not-for-profits because they assume the only funding they can get from the city is through the CHSP. Legal Services is getting money from both pots at this point.”
He said the lack of the additional money from the city should not affect LSNF’s function in the community. A representative of Legal Services did not wish to comment on this budget issue.