100.1 FM ~ 1450 AM ~ WIZS, Your Community Voice ~ Click to LISTEN LOCAL
The Vance County Intergovernmental Committee (Taylor[C], Feimster & Kelly) met on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, to review a request from McGregor Hall for funding assistance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the County’s write-up of the meeting, the committee discussed the impact of COVID-19 on McGregor which includes a $100,000 overall decrease in revenue compared to last year (from March 16 – July 10) and recognized the County could not provide the requested funding level of $250,000.
The committee recognized the local economic impact of McGregor ($2.34 million according to a 2019 economic impact study) and discussed the importance of McGregor to the continued growth and success of downtown Henderson and Vance County.
The committee discussed a recommendation from Vance County Manager Jordan McMillen to allocate $50,000 in one-time funding to McGregor from the County’s Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF). Two of the three committee members were in agreement and recommended supporting McGregor with $50,000 in CRF funds. The third committee member mentioned a concern with allocating all of the remaining CRF funds and suggested providing $30,000 to McGregor.
According to McMillen, following the committee report, the Vance County Board of Commissioners approved the County’s updated plan for allocating the remaining CRF that came from the Federal Government through the state. The vote was 4-2 with Commissioners Dan Brummitt and Carolyn Faines voting against the final allocation of CRF. (Commissioner Yolanda Feimster was absent.)
McMillen said the $50,000 to McGregor Hall was one of the final allocations approved and funds will be distributed to the performing arts center over the next few months.
Henderson City Manager E. Terrell Blackmon said McGregor Hall reached out to the City to request a financial contribution at the same time they contacted Vance County, which was shortly after the City’s FY 2020-2021 budget had been adopted.
“Council does have an opportunity to consider making a contribution to McGregor Hall utilizing CARES Act funding similar to what Vance County Government has recently done,” Blackmon stated in correspondence with WIZS News. “The City’s pot of funds is much smaller than that of Vance County since we are only a sub-recipient of a portion of the County’s funds. Our first priority with the funding is to up-fit our facilities to make them more COVID-friendly, improve technology for virtual meetings/teleworking and purchase additional PPE. Up-fitting our facilities will take up the lion’s share of the $459,733 we received from Vance County. However, in my proposed budget activities, I have recommended that the Council consider a contribution to McGregor Hall.”
Blackmon stated that he could not provide a specific funding amount at this time, citing the need to await quotes and finalized numbers, but anticipates a final decision could be made at October’s City Council meeting after the presentation of the final CARES Act budget. Ultimately, he explained, the final decision of the City’s contributions to McGregor Hall’s funding request will be up to the Henderson City Council.