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County sticks with funding cuts plan
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A year ago, Effingham County commissioners opted to start reducing the amount of money the county provided to outside agencies. Last Tuesday, they reaffirmed their stance with a 5-1 vote.

Commissioner Reggie Loper was the lone dissenting in the commissioners’ move to reduce the funding for several outside agencies, including the Rape Crisis Center, the Effingham Museum and Victim Witness. He also was the lone dissenting vote a year ago.

“I feel we need to weed some of them out,” Loper said. “But not all of them. I didn’t agree with it last year, and I don’t agree with it this year.”

Last year, commissioners approved reducing the funding for several outside agencies, cutting the funding by 10 percent this year and by 30 percent in subsequent years. Eventually, the agencies will not be funded.

County staff asked commissioners if they wanted to continue the process they began last year. Typically, agencies that have been receiving funding from the county are sent letters asking for a new request for the coming budget.

“The original plan is that by the fourth year, this will be finished,” said Commissioner Myra Lewis. “I feel like we should leave it where it is. It was getting bigger and bigger and more and more agencies were asking for funding. That’s why we’re doing it on a time basis — to give
them time to figure out a way to fund themselves.”

County Administrator David Crawley said the staff was looking for approval of a letter to send out to those agencies.

“You will probably get letters from the agencies,” he told commissioners. “You will probably get phone calls from those agencies.”

Some agencies — such as the health department, the public libraries and the coordinator for rural regional transit — are exempt from the cuts.

The affected agencies include Olde Effingham Days, Victim Witness, Gateway, Rape Crisis Center, Senior Companion, Historic Effingham Society, the Ferst Foundation and the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce.