NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY - New Bern Aldermen warned four non-profits earlier this year they were on the chopping block for the next budget. But after a special meeting Thursday night, city officials found some additional funds for one of those groups.
In the city's 2014-2015 fiscal budget, New Bern Aldermen proposed to reduce their $100,000 budget for non-contractual appropriations to $50,000. This money is split among four non-profit organizations- Swiss Bear, Craven Arts Council, Duffyfield Community Council and the Friends of The Firemen's Museum.
The Friends of The Firemen's Museum operates the New Bern Firemen's Museum in downtown New Bern and has been open since 1955. Those who help operate the museum say on average they bring in 48,000 visitors annually. With the upcoming proposed budget cuts, supporters of the organization grew concerned for the future of the museum. They attended in large numbers to a special meeting held by the Board of Aldermen on Thursday night.
In past budget years, the museum has received $41,225 from the city. In the proposed 2014-2015 the number is split in half. The budget calls for giving the non-profit $20,613. The drop in donation from the city had some community members concerned.
During the meeting, the board voted to allow for a public comment, allowing for supporters of the museum to plea with the board for more money.
The board heard their request, and voted to give up to an additional $15,000 to help the museum with its operating cost. Board members agreed to pay up to $11,000 for utilities and up to $5,000 for maintenance.