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Mayor approves Spring Hill city funds for previously defunded nonprofits

Decision goes against BOMA's August vote to defund nonprofits

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Spring Hill Mayor Rick Graham

Spring Hill Mayor Rick Graham on Thursday gave executive approval to four of the six local nonprofit organizations that have traditionally received annual city funds but were proposed to be defunded this year by the city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

At the mayor’s request, the BOMA was scheduled at its Monday, Sept. 16, meeting to take a revote on the list of six nonprofits that applied for city funds. Graham announced to the BOMA Thursday morning by email his decision to cancel the revote and use his mayoral expenditure approval privileges granted to him under the City Charter. Under this provision, the mayor is authorized to approve individual city expenditures under $10,000.

The agenda items to authorize funding for the six nonprofits each failed on a tie vote at the August BOMA meeting. Board members in opposition to the funding expressed their support of these local nonprofits and what they do for Spring Hill, but ultimately felt that it was not the place of government to fund charitable nonprofits with taxpayer funds.

The following nonprofits will receive city of Spring Hill funds in the current 2019-2020 fiscal year budget, per Graham’s approval:

• Spring Hill Arts Center: $5,000

• Spring Hill Senior Citizens: $2,000

• The Well Food Bank: $5,000

• The Tennessee Children's Home’s Turkey Burn Half-Marathon/5K/Fun Run: $2,750

The mayor denied approval to two other nonprofits that had requested funding, the Boys and Girls Club of Maury County and the Maury County Senior Citizens, which had requested $3,500 and $4,500 respectively. Graham referenced a point made by Alderman John Canepari, who noted at the last BOMA Work Session that the Boys and Girls Club and Maury County Senior Citizens should be disqualified from being considered for funds due to the city’s application form restricting contributions to nonprofits that also receive United Way funds. 

The mayor has asked city staff to bring the application for nonprofit funds back to the BOMA for possible revisions at a later time. If changes are made to the application, the two nonprofits excluded from this year’s funding could be eligible to make application for funding next fiscal year.

“I believe these local nonprofits serve a broad public purpose and greatly enrich our community, which is why the city has chosen to fund them year after year,” Graham said. “I don’t think this is the time to pull that funding when these organizations have already budgeted for it. I welcome debate on these items again when we start the 2020-2021 budgeting process in a few months and, if denied by the BOMA at that time, it gives these nonprofits the time to find alternative funding.”

All six of the items relating to the funding of nonprofits will be removed from the upcoming BOMA meeting. The BOMA meets at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, at City Hall. All BOMA meetings are live video streamed at and made available after each meeting to view any time on-demand.

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