Charlotte LGBT center taxpayer assist could face challenges

Group might not meet county requirements, would face opposition from GOP members

meck-lgbtcenter

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A proposal heard by the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte to request up to $25,000 in assistance from Mecklenburg County taxpayers could hit snags before it even gets off the ground.

The proposal was floated at the center’s board meeting on Wednesday evening and comes at a time when the center continues to face questions over proper board leadership and crucial financial struggles. According to financial documents briefly reviewed by this newspaper on Wednesday, the center has operated at an approximate $7,500 loss since January.

The proposal to request money from Mecklenburg County commissioners could provide the center a much-needed influx of cash. It’s too late for the center to take advantage of the Mecklenburg County Community Service Grant program and be included in the county manager’s recommended budget. Applications for the program closed in March. But, center board members could sway the support of county commissioners, who could add the taxpayer assist to the center as commissioners continue budget discussions next month.

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“Yes, individual commissioners can motion to add line items to the budget, as long as they have a second, and enough votes to add the organization into the budget,” Tiffany Waddell, an enterprise management analyst in the Mecklenburg County Office of Management and Budget, confirmed Thursday morning.

Yet, even an addition by commissioners must still meet the service grant program’s criteria. Chiefly, non-profit groups must fall into several focus areas, including groups which work to improve high school graduation rates, those which train and place unemployed workers, those which work to prevent health risks and diseases and groups which promote financial self-sufficiency.

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Additionally, non-profit groups must provide several pieces of documentation, including audited financial statements from within the past year.

LGBT Community Center Board Chair Roberta Dunn confirmed Thursday morning the group has not had an audit performed.

Support for the center is likely to come from at least two members of the commission. The elected body has a 6-3 Democratic majority, with a majority considered allies or fairly friendly to the LGBT community.

But, even if county commissioners are willing or able to bypass service grant program requirements, any motion to support the center would more than likely face fierce criticism from Republican members Bill James and Karen Bentley. Both members have consistently voted against LGBT-inclusive proposals.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.