The strength of the City of Effingham’s purse strings was tested by a wealth of requests for funding.
Among the requests, only one was up for a vote at Tuesday’s city council meeting. The Effingham County Cultural Center Museum Association was awarded $25,000 from the city’s tourism fund after Delaine Donaldson requested $75,000 toward renovation work on the second story of the Effingham County Courthouse Museum. The city provided the same amount last year.
While the other requests at the meeting were for discussion only, commissioners varied on support of the mounting projects.
Effingham Park District President David McDevitt requested the city provide $1 million in funds for the construction of the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center. The request came after construction bids for the project came in $3 million above the park district’s budget for the project.
McDevitt informed the council Workman pledged to match up to a million of the city’s donation.
Commissioner Brian Milleville said when the city assisted in property and infrastructure, it washed its hands of the project.
According to City Administrator James Arndt, the city has provided $2.7 million from donated land, located near Kluthe Memorial Pool, for the future site of the proposed project. Arndt added that the city also assisted in infrastructure and design costs of the complex.
Although Arndt believes the council will come up with funds for the sports complex, he said it would be “financially irresponsible” to completely deplete the tourism fund, which has $450,000, and spend money from the general fund of the city.
Helen Matthes Library Director Amanda McKay requested $500,000 for the renovation of the future site of the library.
Although commissioners favored helping the library, which is currently funded through the city, like the sports complex, lack of sufficient funds in Central Tax Increment Finance District to finance the request was an issue.