City may require more accountability for funds

February 25, 2012 06:56:27 PM
ALI HELGOTH / News Herald Writer
Twitter: @AHelgoth

PANAMA CITY — This fiscal year, the Panama City Commission budgeted more than $300,000 in grants and monetary aid for local organizations.

Those organizations could soon have to provide the city more information about how they plan to spend the money and meet performance measures in order to eligible for future funding.

The idea was discussed during budget workshops held last year and could be enacted during a meeting 4 p.m. Tuesday.

“We wanted more accountability,” said Mayor Greg Brudnicki. “We have other people who are applying for funds, and we want to make sure … that they need the funds … It’s just accountability.”

The commission will consider agreements with the Visual Arts Center, St. Andrew Medical Center, Science & Discovery Center of Northwest Florida, Martin Theater, Bay County Economic Development Alliance and the West Florida Regional Planning Council for the Baytown Trolley. Those organizations were budgeted $299,290, and that amount went up by about $25,000 when funding was increased for the EDA.

The agreements require the organizations to provide by Sept. 30 a report that details the number of residents who benefited from services and the source of funds for services prior to the city’s payment. The organization is also required to provide the city with “any and all audits, reports and tax returns that reflect the income and expenditures of the nonprofit and the accomplishment of the nonprofit objectives, if a part thereof,” and gives the city authority to request an audit.

The agreement also states funding can’t be used for management or salaries, and the source of funding for management and personnel salaries must be disclosed if the city asks.

The commission will also discuss implementing a requirement that organizations requesting money provide a plan that says how the city’s funding “will be used to enhance the delivery of services. The plan will be the benchmark for performance measurements in next year’s agreements,” according to information included with the budget.

Also during the meeting, the commission will:

• Hold first reading of an ordinance that would eliminate distance requirements between churches and schools and businesses that sell alcohol in the downtown area.

• Consider a resolution approving a $2 million line of credit for the Panama City Port Authority to finance improvements at the port and its Intermodal Distribution Center Park.

• Consider changes to zoning maps. It reflects changes previously approved for the city’s future land use maps and land development regulations.

Read more: http://www.newsherald.com/articles/accountability-100703-city-funds.html#ixzz1ngNQsMW1

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