It's a sign of the times, but a positive sign of sorts.
When the Steele County Board of Commissioners met to approve the grant funding from the Children and Community Services Act, the commissioners slashed funding to local non-profits by 50 percent. It's the second year in a row that the commissioners took the difficult, but correct step of cutting funding to non-profits.
In 2008, despite the fact that the county was receiving less money from the state, the commissioners, on the recommendation from the CCSA Advisory Committee, approved grants to the non-profits of nearly $300,000 for 2009. A year later, realizing that budget constraints on the county were getting tighter, the commissioners shaved $100,000 in grants for this year. Now, with the state facing a budget crisis of its own the commissioners trimmed the CCSA funding again for 2011. Next year, the grants will given by the county to local non-profits will total $100,500 - exactly half of what the county gave this year.
Certainly for the non-profits who use that money to fund programs to county residents, the cuts that the commissioners made can't come as good news. And there's little doubt that the work of those non-profits is important work. We are sorry that they will not have the funding that they had hoped for.
Unfortunately, when the money is not there - and clearly, the money is not available - then some difficult choices have to be made. The advisory committee and the commissioners were faced with a difficult and undoubtedly troubling task of having to decide where to give the money when there simply wasn't as much money to give.
What is positive in the board's decision is the fact that, unlike some lawmakers on the state and federal level, the commissioners realized that when times are tough and the money isn't there, belts have to be tightened.
- Owatonna People's Press