Organizations sounded off to the Henrico County Board of Supervisors, Tuesday night, asking administrators not to cut their funding. Some non-core programs that historically have counted on money from the county, now stand to receive less or no funding. County officials say they needed to find $18.5 million in a continually shrinking budget.
"…We all attempt to navigate through what has become the new normal," said Harriet Scruggs, executive director of the Richmond READ Center.
"The new normal" emerged as the catch phrase during the public hearing. For Henrico, and counties across Virginia, it means less money and therefore less funding for organizations like the Richmond READ Center, which offers tutoring to illiterate adults.
"Previous support from Henrico County has made it possible for the READ Center to serve Henrico adult learners and train Henrico volunteer tutors," said Scruggs.
Henrico's contribution to the Science Museum of Virginia could be nearly erased.
"In the grand total of Henrico's budget, the $56,000 allocation to the science museum is relatively small," said David Botkins, a board member of the museum.
Several people spoke on behalf of the Asian American Society of Central Virginia. The group says it stands to lose a yearly $10,000 contribution from Henrico.
"We're not here to basically hold out our a hand. We do a lot of things to enhance the communities as well. One of the things we're working on, through our resources, is bringing international business here," said Eric Lin, of the AASCV.
However, others suggested finding more ways to save money, instead of giving it out.
"Asking for money for read programs, asking for money for ethnic organizations... please remember that you're taking other people's money and funding causes that ought to be handled by private money and private contributions," said Henrico resident Max Maizels.
Maizels received applause.
If the budget issues seem bad this year, administrators warn of 2015. That's when counties across Virginia will be contributing much more to teacher retirement funds. Henrico officials say they're also dealing with less revenue coming into the county. They warn that the road ahead will be even tougher.
The county is expected to adopt the budget on April 23. For the fourth time in five years, there will be no raises for county employees.
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