An annual event which had been designed to help raise funds for the Germantown Commission will no longer be considered a line item in the Webster Parish Tourism Board of Commissioners budget, but can continue to seek funds through an advertising grant.
Commissioners voted 4-0 with three absent Tuesday to remove the Bluegrass Festival grant from the annual budget, a move which would have cost the festival $2,500 in grant money in 2012. No festival grant was shown for 2013.
"We have removed other items from the line item because they seemed to be double dipping," said commission secretary Mary McKinney. "If we removed someone whose circumstance was just like that of the Bluegrass Festival, then we should do the same so we would not be considered double dipping."
Commission chairman Kerry Easley said he understood McKinney's concern about perception.
"Looking at the situation of other groups, I can see where your concern is justified," he told McKinney prior to the unanimous vote.
Removing the Bluegrass Festival from the line items of the budget does not mean the event cannot receive funds from the Tourism Commission, Easley explained.
"A group on the line item qualifies for a grant of up to $4,000," he said, "while the maximum one can receive in an advertising grant is $1,000. Hopefully, as our income goes up so can the maximum on the advertising grant."
Advertising grants of $1,000 were awarded Tuesday to Glow, Minden Glow 5K Run, a request by the Junior Service League, and to the Sarepta Christmas Festival after a request by the Town of Sarepta.
Commissioners also voted to continue a cooperative endeavor with the Springhill-North Webster Chamber of Commerce which expires September 31. And, after running out of storage space for important papers, the commissioners agreed to purchase a new fireproof file cabinet for $1,360.
And, the group heard auditor Kristine Cole of Jamieson Wise and Martin report no findings of needed modifications to their fiscal year end audit for 2013.
"We've submitted the report to the legislative auditor showing no non-compliance to state laws and noting that all procedures are being followed," Cole said. "At the end of the year, you show a surplus (of around $44,000) for 2013."