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Local Groups Lobby for Funding
Monday, 02 March 2009

March 2-- Toombs County commissioners are expected to hear at their March meeting from some local non-profit organizations who've lost their county funding. 

The commission withheld $64,000 in funding in their budget after learning the funding, which has been going on for years, violates state law.  However, the commission can seek local legislation in the state legislature to make the practice legal if it so desires.

County commissioner Louie Powell was asked to seek such legislation at a meeting Monday with the Vidalia Area Convention and Visitors Bureau which had been slated to receive $15,000.  

Another organization, the Ohoopee Regional Council of the Arts (ORCA), loses nearly $20,000 if the funding is not restored. Tracey Adams of the ORCA board believes it's a mistake to cut the arts.  

"Whether you're an arts lover or not, it's important to have those types of things available in our community. Children need to be exposed to the arts, and it's also part of the economic development and tourism mix.  When people look to move here, or a business or industry looks to move here, they look at all kinds of things and we need to insure in these tough economic times we don't put things like the arts on the back burner," she says.

Adams is encouraging citizens to contact their county commissioner and ask them to act on local legislation.  "I think it's important to let our commissioners know what we care about.  I just hope people will let their voice be heard and try to help us through this time," she asked.

Commission chairman Buddy West says he'll be glad to hear from concerned citizens at the next county commission meeting March 10th. 

State Repesentative Greg Morris of Vidalia says he will introduce the legislatiation if asked to do so by the county commission. 

Other organizations which previously received county funding are the Altama Museum of Arts, the Toombs County Boys and Girls Club and the Lyons Merchants Association.  

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