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Groups appeal for town funding / April 17, 2014
South Boston Town Council spent an hour on Monday evening listening to representatives of various agencies make their requests for funds in the coming year.

Of those appearing before Council, Jewell Medley of the United Way made a first-ever request from her agency for funds. Whereas the UW for years was supported by donations from business and industry, Medley pointed out that with the decline of textiles and tobacco that stream of donations has dropped significantly.

She asked that South Boston donate at least $5,000 which would be used to purchase toiletry kits which would be given to citizens who were in crisis situations.

Also requesting additional money was Johnny Cleaton of the Lake Country Agency on Aging who oversees the HART transportation system. Cleaton pointed out that HART is the only public transportation system offered in the community, taking patrons to the hospital, nursing homes, pharmacies and grocery stores. He said the buses run only in the towns of South Boston and Halifax from 8:15 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“HART is in trouble,” Cleaton told Council members, noting that without more money services would have to be cut.

He requested that the town increase its contribution from the current $21,574 to $26,711 — a $5,000 increase of which one-half would be used to purchase a replacement bus. He pointed out that one of the buses is four years old and has 100,000 miles on it and is subject to breakdowns. He explained that 95 percent of the program’s expenses are federally funded.

Cleaton said the buses average 120-130 mile per day, usually making some 26-28 trips.

Also asking for a very small increase in funds was Main Street Program director Tamyra Vest who said the program has generated almost $32.6 million in investments and created 205 jobs since its beginning. They have also received $205,000 in grant funds. Vest asked that the Town increase her funds from the current $73,460 to $75,195.

Anther agency representative appearing before Council Monday night was Chris Jones of The Prizery who thanked members for their current support of $22,500. He said the Prizery will be celebrating its tenth anniversary next year and draws not only county residents, but has a large following in neighboring Mecklenburg County.

Beth Coates of the South Boston Museum also thanked Council for its support of $25,000, noting that it serves a large number of visitors each year, with some coming in from foreign countries to do research on their family origins.

Jay Stephens, director of the local library system, thanked members for the $76,000 they contribute to the library each year, and Linda Shepperd added her thanks for the $92,000 support the Town gives to her office on tourism.

No representative of the local YMCA was present at the Monday meeting, but the agency has asked for a $10,000 donation, up from the current year’s $6,000 contribution.

Earlier in their Monday meeting Council members heard from department heads who discussed their FY 15 budgets. Several have postponed the purchase of new equipment, including Public Works which opted not to purchase a new leaf collection vehicle during the coming year.

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