M’boro seeks Reynolds funding

Published 10:43 am Friday, August 6, 2010

MURFREESBORO—Whether or not to pursue another round of funding to continue the Greater Murfreesboro Marketing Initiative (GMMI) was the question at a recent Town Council meeting here.

Last week, Murfreesboro Town Administrator Lee Capps informed Town Council members that a deadline was nearing to re-apply for a Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation grant, one the town has applied for in the past and received.

The funds, which allot a $35,000 non-match grant over two years, were used for GMMI, an entity that promoted the town through the grant’s four core points. The grant was first submitted in 2008 and has led to promotion of the town through a few projects, including the banners on Main Street and the website.

Capps said among the objects of the grants are developing strategies for economic development, creating the town into a destination, creating a branding formula and technique and promote cooperation among the town’s four entities, including the Murfreesboro Historic Association, the Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce, Chowan University and the town government, and develop and promote recreational and entertainment opportunities.

He added August 1 was the date for continuation of the grant.

“I’ll bring to your attention another item on the agenda is the Small Town Main Street program,” he said. “The town has declared that its resources for assisting with the financial commitment to participate in that program would come from the GMMI/Z. Smith Reynolds funds.”

For the Small Town Main Street program the town would have to pay for costs associated with certain travel related expenses, mileage and meals as well as an economic data report.

Councilman Bill Theodorakis said he was concerned of how the grant was administered last time.

“I think some thought needs to go into it,” he said. “The main thing I think I’d like to know is where we (the town) stand and what our responsibilities are and our duties.”

Councilwoman Gloria Odum, who acts as a liaison between her colleagues and GMMI, said at GMMI’s last meeting there was agreement that the distribution of the funds would be different.

“Each entity would have its own monetary line item; it (the funding) would still go through the town, but everybody would have equal access to a certain amount of money,” she said.

Capps noted the town’s 2010-2011 budget has the full amount of the grant money included in it.

“The budget that you just passed in June has a $35,000 component in it from Z. Smith Reynolds of which, for our calendar year, the only way to have that $35,000 is for the continuation of the grant to be successful,” he said.

Capps continued, noting that in this year’s budget, as far as expenditures concerning GMMI things were different than the previous budget.

“On the expenditure side you had it broken down in different line items,” he said. “You had funding line under the GMMI of four principal groups at $7,000 each.”

Capps said from a fiscal standpoint the council had already passed half of it. He explained that half of the grant comes one year and the rest the next year.

He said the program officer notified him that the deadline for the grant continuance would be August 1 and the town would not know if it had been awarded until mid-November.

Mayor Pro-Tem Molly Eubank asked if the line items would have to come before the board before they were expended.

“Before they are expended outside of what’s been approved in the budget,” Capps responded.

After further discussion, Odum said the issues the town faced before with the administering of the grant had been resolved.

“I think we straightened that out at the last meeting,” she said. “I don’t think it could happen again with everyone involved.”

Theodorakis reiterated that he would like to see the town’s role more clearly defined.

“Especially if the money is being funneled through us (the town), we’re responsible for it,” he said.

Theodorakis moved to approve the town applying for the continuation of the Z. Smith Reynolds grant; it was seconded by Lloyd Hill. The motion passed without objection.