PRINCETON — The Mercer County Commission is once again seeking improved accountability from those individuals and entities that request county funding assistance.
During a recent commission meeting, the board discussed ways to handle funding requests moving forward. For example, individuals and entities seeking county dollars would be required to make their funding requests 30 days in advance of a scheduled county commission meeting while also justifying their need for funding assistance.
“Sometimes we get an application less than a week before we have our meeting, and people expect us to give them money at that meeting,” Gene Buckner, the commission’s president, said. “On that application, it has to be one month before our meeting to get the funding request on the agenda.”
Commissioner Greg Puckett said a revised grant application process he proposed three years ago could be revisited now.
“I would like to go ahead and look at the grant application form we did a few years ago,” Puckett said. “Because I thought that did hold people accountable and put the emphasis back upon the person requesting the money.”
Puckett said another option to consider would be a matching fund requirement, or community funding match, from the groups seeking funding from the county.
Thanks to all of the federal stimulus dollars coming in from the federal government, the county is in better shape today to handle funding requests, commissioner Bill Archer said.
However, Archer said he would prefer for the commission to become a partner with the entities seeking funding rather than the commission solely serving as the funding source.
“Lots of time when people request funding they do not do it in the right fashion,” Buckner added. “We need a form filled out. A submission form needs to be filled out in its entirety. We very seldom get all of this. I think it is fair to ask the people who are asking the funding requests to do this in the right fashion.”
During the pandemic, funding requests from the commission slowed — as most public events were canceled in 2020. However, fairs, festivals and related gatherings have all resumed this year, even though the pandemic is still causing problems.
Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline. com. Follow him @ BDTOwens