CAPP may face even deeper funding cuts


Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 9:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 9:09 p.m.

After talk earlier this year of reinstating the money that was cut from Alachua County's Community Agency Partnership Program for this fiscal year, the county now may reduce funding for the social services program even more for the upcoming fiscal year.

Through CAPP, the county gives money to nonprofits that aim to reduce poverty by providing various services involving health care, food and children's education and more.

On Thursday, the County Commission approved a tentative plan for fiscal year 2014 that allocates around $962,000 for CAPP, compared to $983,000 for the current fiscal year.

Fiscal year 2013 included a 15 percent cut in CAPP funding compared to the approximately $1.16 million that the county allotted for CAPP in fiscal year 2012.

The commission hasn't yet approved a final budget for the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

The commission approved most of the CAPP Advisory Board's FY14 recommendations Thursday, although instead of going with the $1.16 million funding level recommended by the advisory board, county commissioners went with a funding level of $962,000.

Commissioners Mike Byerly and Susan Baird voted against the motion. While Baird isn't a fan of CAPP, Byerly supports it but voted against the proposal because he felt the funding level was too low.

Byerly said he wouldn't support it because this level of funding doesn't do enough to meet the community's need for the kinds of social services CAPP oversees. He wanted to restore CAPP funding to its previous level after the FY13 cut and instead the county is poised to further reduce it.

Byerly outlined the importance of CAPP, saying that supporting programs which provide social services helps build this community into the kind in which people want to live.

“We don't hurt our economy by taxing our citizens to provide for the people who can't provide for themselves,” he said.

During Tuesday's meeting, Baird said the government has a responsibility to fulfill its core priorities, which include maintenance, capital improvements and roadwork, before helping nonprofit groups using taxpayer dollars. She said she has nothing against the organizations that receive funding from CAPP, but she believes the county has bigger issues it needs to deal with first.

Baird did suggest the commissioners eliminate about $42,000 in funding from the FY14 plan meant to be allocated to Planned Parenthood of North Florida, pointing out that some of the things it does go against many people's values.

“I just don't feel that would be a great program to support,” she said.

The commission kept the funding for Planned Parenthood intact.

Keith Blanchard of the Boys & Girls Club of Alachua County told the commission how important its financial support is to the organization and the children it helps, especially in difficult economic times.

“This is the hardest period we've ever gone through and yet the demand for our service has never been greater,” he said.

Terry Fleming, chair of the CAPP Advisory Board, told the board that CAPP is a good way to go about funding social services in the community and dismissed the notion that the program is a way to give money to charity.

“This isn't funding charities,” he said. “This is providing contracted services.”

Contact Morgan Watkins at 338-3104 or morgan.watkins@gainesville.com.

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