Just five of the seven organizations that last month requested money from the county’s Community Enhancement Grant fund will receive public funds.
The Delaware County commissioners on Thursday approved $92,500 worth of appropriations to the five organizations.
The vote was 2-1, with Commissioner Ken O’Brien casting the lone “no” vote.
A frequent critic of the grant program, O’Brien has referred to it as a “slush fund.” Thursday he said the county should not be giving away public money when it is borrowing for large scale projects.
“We are bonding for additional funds. When we’re bonding we are basically borrowing,” he said. “So what we are doing is borrowing from our children’s future to give money away and I don’t think it’s appropriate for the county to be doing that.”
Despite the objection, commissioners Gary Merrell and Dennis Stapleton joined forces to pass the measure.
The largest recipient of public funds will be the Delaware County Fair, which requested $75,000 to aid in the effort to turn its Junior Fair Building into a year-round revenue generator. The commissioners approved $55,000 in funding.
The Delaware County Historical Society is set to receive the full $20,000 it asked for last month. President Brent Carson said the money would be used to expand the organization’s outreach programs, specifically in local classrooms.
Main Street Delaware will receive two-thirds of the $15,000 it requested. Executive Director Francis Jo Hamilton said the $10,000 will be used to maintain current programming.
The Arts Castle requested $15,000 but will receive just $5,000 in funding. The money will be used to maintain its historic building, according to Ralph Hodges, president of the organization’s board.
The Hartford Fair will receive $2,500. It requested $5,000 to be used to pay for a water line survey to determine if it is feasible for DelCo Water Co. to extend service to the fairgrounds.
The Central Ohio Symphony and the Delaware Speech and Hearing Center did not receive any funding.
The organizations asked for $153,862. The county’s Community Enhancement Program had just $92,500 remaining of the $650,000 originally budgeted for 2014.
The bulk of the money - $500,000 – is earmarked for the OSU Extension Office and the Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District.
“I feel very confident that the money is being well spent on behalf of the county,” Commissioner Gary Merrell said.