While the futures of such noble endeavors as the Humane Society of Putnam County, the A-Way Home shelter and the Rural Transit system hang in the balance, the Greencastle City Council sees all of them as important to the community's future.
So vital, in fact, that when the Council passed a resolution establishing a three-year Capital Improvement Plan for using its future County Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) funds, all three programs were optimistically listed.
Resolution 2011-36 was passed unanimously by the City Council at its December session Tuesday night at City Hall.
The resolution projects $985,092 in EDIT money to be collected and distributed to the city over the three-year period. As of Nov. 30, the city's current EDIT balance was $1,561,089.
Overall, the city listed 11 projects in the three-year plan that will be in effect until Jan. 1, 2015.
The resolution, Mayor Sue Murray pointed out, delineates what EDIT funds the city "can spend, but not necessarily will we spend it all."
The plan would allow for $21,000 in funding for A-Way Home over the three years, providing it reopens next year, while earmarking $24,000 over the same period for animal control, most likely funding for the Humane Society, should it reopen as hoped in 2012.
Meanwhile, the three-year projected EDIT fund contribution to Rural Transit is also listed as $21,000 in the city plan
However, city officials expressed concern that no other consistent local funding is being provided for the Rural Transit buses, which are apparently facing an uncertain future in Putnam County, the mayor indicated.
A February meeting is being planned, she said, to discuss local support of the bus service. In addition to the city's contribution, the Putnam County Community Foundation has provided $10,000 and local riders donate to the cause.
However, at one point, seven buses were running locally and 4,000 riders were using the service monthly but that has declined due to an overall lack of funding.
"The reality is," Mayor Murray said, "we need to show local financial support and make a good-faith effort to show how important it is to the community."
Rural Transit received a $2,000 county contribution when it began operations in January 2009 and had been receiving an in-kind donation of space at the Putnam County Annex (old Jones School) until it closed. Prior to that, Rural Transit had its office at City Hall before outgrowing the available space there.
It is now paying minimal rent for a spot at the old Skate Place building.
"I'm concerned we are becoming the sole supporter," Council President Adam Cohen said. "We need for others to step up. Clearly Rural Transit is for the whole county."
Mayor Murray stressed that the city will attempt to lead by example in the matter and make use of the EDIT fund plan and the upcoming meeting "to do everything possible" to retain the transit service.
Other projects earmarked for city EDIT funds over 2012, 2013 and 2014 are:
-- Bond repayment on City Hall building -- $150,000 ($50,000 due per year).
-- Albin Pond dam maintenance and reconstruction -- $100,000.
-- Neighborhood sidewalk renovation -- $300,000.
-- South Street extension project engineering/land acquisition and construction -- $445,000.
-- Mapleberry Park development Phase II -- $125,000.
-- People Pathways Phase VI engineering -- $85,000.
-- Unsafe building fund -- $150,000.
-- Economic and Community Development (Stellar Grant matching funds) -- $600,000.