Despite the objections of Commissioner Ken O’Brien, Delaware County’s 2014 budget is likely to include a Community Enhancement Program.
Commissioners Dennis Stapleton and Gary Merrell overruled O’Brien during budget discussions, agreeing to include $650,000 for the program in next year’s budget.
The bulk of the money – over $500,000 – will go to the OSU Extension Office and the Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District.
That money left over will be made available to community organizations in the county.
The county will not just hand the money out, however. Each organization looking to tap into the fund will have to come before the commissioners and detail how they plan to spend the money.
“The organizations and groups can come in front of us and make their case,” Stapleton said.
In the 2012 and 2013 budgets, the commissioners made $700,000 available to community organizations.
Part of the 2012 funds were appropriated to Main Street Delaware, the Delaware County Historical Society, the Hartford Fair, the Family and Children First Council, and other community organizations.
The commissioners originally considered appropriating $700,000 once again. However, Stapleton suggested $50,000 be moved to an economic development account.
The move pleased O’Brien, who has repeatedly referred to the Community Enhancement Program as a “slush fund.”
“I would get rid of all the slush fund,” he said. “But if I can move $50,000 to economic development, I’ll take that.”
Despite the reduction in the fund, the inclusion of the Community Enhancement Program could lead to O’Brien once again opposing the budget. Last month, he indicated he would vote no on the multimillion dollar budget because of the inclusion of the funds.