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Cobb non-profits ask commissioners to reconsider funding cuts

July 20, 2019 10:12 AM by Wendy Parker

Article pulled from East Cobb News

The leaders of several Cobb non-profits who’ve received county funding in the past are asking commissioners continue the practice, although there’s no money at all for them in the proposed fiscal year 2020 budget.

Irene Barton, Cobb Collaborative, Cobb non-profits
Irene Barton, Cobb Collaborative

At a budget hearing earlier this week, representatives of some of the 15 community organizations who’ve received a total of $850,000 in the current FY 2019 budget said the small figures they receive from Cobb government enable them to get matching funds that are vital to the work that they do.

“Non-profits are working together to address critical issues,” said Irene Barton, an East Cobb resident who is the executive director of the Cobb Collaborative.

It’s an umbrella organization that received $42,500 this year to help coordinate grant funding of around $3.1 million.

The critical needs include addressing those who are homeless and ex-offenders, those in family poverty situations and for health and wellness issues.

Those were the four criteria Cobb Commission Chairman Mike Boyce proposed last year for organizations to receive county founding. But after commissioners approved the FY 2019 budget, Boyce acknowledged there wasn’t the political support (commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell of East Cobb have been opposed) to continue the funding.

So there’s nothing in Boyce’s proposed $475 million budget commissioners are scheduled to adopt on Tuesday.

The Center for Family Resources, which focuses on homelessness issues, is getting $141,000 this year, the largest amount of county spending, followed by the Davis Direction Association ($120,000), which fights drug and opioid addiction.

SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center receives $81,000, the Atlanta Community Food Bank $70,000, MUST Ministries $53,000 and the Tommy Nobis Center $45,000.

Barton said in her remarks to the commissioners that the non-profits have worked with government agencies, other non-profits and faith communities, but “no one group can fund this alone.

“Some may feel that that taxpayers’ dollars should not fund these agencies. If these services are not funded, who will provide them?”

As she did last week, State Rep. Mary Frances Williams, a Marietta Democrat who represents part of East Cobb, also urged commissioners to provide non-profit funding.

“I really worry that your minds are already made up,” she said. “Once this money is gone, it’s hard to get a chunk of money like this back in the process.”

A Cobb resident at Tuesday’s budget hearing disagreed. Patricia Hay argued that “it’s not government’s job to take care of people. It’s just not.”

The Cobb commissioners will hold a final budget hearing at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, prior to final adoption. The meeting takes place in the second floor board room of the Cobb government building, 100 Cherokee St., in downtown Marietta.