Huntsville Council at Odds Over How to Spend Left-Over Cash - FOX 54 WZDX – Huntsville News, Weather and Sports

Huntsville Council at Odds Over How to Spend Left-Over Cash

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Huntsville City Council Members are attending Thursday night's meeting with differing ideas on how to spend some significant money. The cash in question is the $131,000 the city will not be giving to Sci-Quest due to its departure for Madison. Numerous non-profits around the city have their eyes on the money and city leaders disagree on where it should go. Councilman Bill Kling thinks the sum should be split.

"Give $1,200 of that to the Homeless Coalition and give $80,000 to be split equally among four public organizations such as the public library. Then give $50,000 to the Arts Council for pass-on grants to member organizations."

His four public organizations are the Huntsville Madison County Public Library, the Huntsville Museum of Art, Burrit Museum, and Constitution Village. But not everyone is on board. Councilman Will Culver presented a long list of organizations he would like to give the money to including Crimestoppers, Nexus Energy, and the Jazz Society.

Kling says his proposal would limit the money awarded to the public organizations to capital improvements only. Things like leaky roofs and new air conditioning systems would qualify and library officials say their 25 year old building has many needs.

"We have a lot of the original carpet in the building we have the original roof so there's a lot of issues here at the library," says Deputy Director Sue Royer.

The arts council would distribute the money to several different groups through an application process. Executive Director Allison Dillon-Jaukin says this tried and true method would best distribute the money around the city.

"Organizations will submit their materials they will be publicly viewed and publicly vetted and then the funding will be redistributed competitively."

Councilman Mark Russell says with no fleet money in the budget, there certainly isn't room for non profits.

"We need 2 ladder trucks at $1 million each. We need fire trucks, we need police cars, we need boom trucks," he explained, saying that the money being discussed is only "phantom money" anyway.

"Mayor Battle's budget includes spending all the money that the city receives. Somewhere we have got to draw the line and I'm drawing the line there."

Kling is not optimistic that everyone will reach a common ground.

"I don't know how things are going to end up. I think it's even questionable whether we will even get a budget passed," he says.

If a budget is not approved by October 1st, a continuing resolution will keep funding at current levels.

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