New city budget cuts local nonprofits' funding in half

The City of New Bern passed it's fiscal year 2014-2015 budget Tuesday night

New city budget cuts local nonprofits' funding in half

NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY - A new budget passed by the City of New Bern will cut funding to some local non profit organizations by 50 percent.

The City of New Bern approved a $131 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year Tuesday night. New Bern City Manager Mark Stephens  says the city is having to make up for a $2.7 million shortfall.

Nonprofits affected include The Duffyfield Community Council, Craven Arts Council and Swiss Bear Downtown Development Corporation.  In late May the city was able to find an extra $15,000 for the New Bern Fireman's Museum after supporters spoke up. However, it doesn't appear the other organizations, like Swiss Bear, will be as lucky. The non profit puts on signature New Bern events, like Mum Fest, that draw thousands and bring in millions of dollars.

"We've provided a great service, we would like to continue to do that," said Swiss Bear Executive Director, Susan Moffat-Thomas.

While the 50 percent cuts are across the board Swiss Bear is the most impacted. In the coming fiscal year, it will receive just over $23,000 down from $45,000.

"...keeping the doors open is what it is and all the other projects that we've done, because we can keep our doors open then we can go out and raise the money for specific projects the public wants," said Moffat-Thomas.

The Craven Arts Council will receive a little more than $2,000 down from $4,100 and the Duffyfield Community Council will receive $5,000 down from $10,000 according to City of New Bern Public Information Officer Colleen Roberts. The Fireman's Museum appropriation was slashed to a little more than $20,000 but with $15,000 provided by the city to cover repairs and utility costs, the non profit is almost back to it's previous funding amount.

City Manager, Mark Stephens, says due to the budget shortfall city leaders had to make tough choices.

"We're having to make cuts, significant cuts in our budget and it obviously has trickled down to now we're having to look at where are we spending special money," said Stephens.

Local nonprofits will now have to be even more creative and resourceful in securing the funding they need.

"We have met with the mayor and the alderman of the first ward and the city manager to talk about how they see our role in the future. We're exploring all avenues at this point," said Moffat-Thomas.

City officials say in the following fiscal year, appropriations for nonprofits will be completely taken away. They say they've made that known now to hopefully give the organizations time to prepare.


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