Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget cuts about $2 million dollars from performance contracts compared to last year. The financial health of the various organizations requesting money was reviewed by city staff members as one of the determining factors.
According to records provided to the city by AltaPointe, the mental healthcare agency has a proposed budget of $75 million in revenue and $74 million in expenses. The group that operates a hospital in Mobile and in Daphne applied for $956,708 in funding through a performance contract, but will receive only $100,000, if Stimpson’s budget is approved without council amendments.
In addition, AltaPointe is projecting $33 million in state funding, $872,000 from county cigarette taxes and $2,185 in funding from Mobile and Baldwin counties. In an application for city funding, an AltaPointe representative wrote that $240,000 of the $956,709 requested would go to general operations, while the rest would be used for personnel and salary purposes.
AltaPointe, which has received funding for 39 years, according to the application, would be using the money to fund other agencies as well, including the Drug Education Council, L’Arche Mobile, Mobile Arc and Survivors of Mental Illness.
More than 9,000 of the 16,000 clients AltaPointe serves are from Mobile, according to the application, but not all of the funding provided by the city would be used in the city, as adult clients would be served by AltaPointe’s EastPointe hospital in Daphne. AltaPointe claimed 1,300 employees and a $44 million economic impact on the city.
The Alabama School of Math and Science had a more modest budget, with proposed revenues topping out at $2.1 million. ASMS requested a $40,500 performance contract, but were left out of the proposed budget after being funded for the last six years.
Dr. Monica Motley, ASMS president, said the school brings Mobile national recognition and has an economic impact of $12 million by hosting events and tourists in the area.
“It has been a jewel to the state,” she told councilors during a public hearing on the budget last week. “It’s a jewel that has been beneficial to Mobile.”
At the beginning of 2013, BayFest enjoyed $420,000 in assets, but by the end of the year, the music festival board had nearly $3 million in assets, according to financial records. The festival received $100,000 in the proposed budget, but organizers had requested $350,000. The city also gives BayFest $8,000 worth of in-kind contributions by providing an office in Government Plaza.
The festival has received funding from the city for the last 19 years. The city benefits from $732,825 in direct taxes, once the grant money is deducted and the festival has an economic impact of $42 million, according to BayFest organizers’ application. Over the last 19 years, BayFest has generated more than $400 million to the city’s economy, according to the application.
The Gulf Coast Exploreum’s revenues and expenditures are even at $2.35 million in the center’s proposed 2015 budget. The science center requested more than $600,000, but will receive $135,000 if Stimpson’s budget is approved.
The Exploreum made adjustments to its budget to pay for utilities, according to financial records. In previous years, the city has foot the utility bill. The center also cut expenses slightly from $2.41 million in 2014 to $2.35 million in the projected budget. Revenues also dropped from $2.61 million in 2014 to $2.35 million in the proposed budget, according to financial records.
The Mobile Arts Council requested $100,000, but received only $35,000 in the mayor’s proposed budget. The group had projected revenues of $369,233, while expenses topped out at $349,317.
The group’s proposed budget breaks down as follows: $1,500 was budgeted for travel, $18,000 was budgeted for rent and $140,875 was budgeted for payroll, according to financial documents. The group plans to spend $1,535 in public relations and marketing as well as $45,000 on a community-based youth intervention program at six Boys and Girls Club locations where 2,000 to 3,500 children ages 5 to 16 are served, according to the Mobile Arts Council’s funding application.
The Mobile Opera asked for $22,800 from the city, but received only $10,000. The opera spends more than $55,000 per year on Civic Center theater rent and $60,000 on local musicians. The opera also pays $57,000 per year on salaries.
The opera’s proposed income is $464,300 and matches the expenses. The income includes ticket sales of $72,000 for fall and spring shows, according to financial documents. The organization also gets $40,000 from special events and a fundraiser.
Foundation grants make up $100,000 of the proposed budget for the opera, while $14,200 comes from the Community Foundation of South Alabama.
Mobile New Year’s Eve parade cancelled
Carol Hunter, president of Events Mobile, said this year’s New Year’s Eve parade in downtown would be cancelled because it “had problems we didn’t know how to solve.”
For starters, she said, the event had logistical problems because the setup for the MoonPie over Mobile concert stage forced the parade to go “several blocks off” the traditional parade route.
“The parade would go blocks without seeing anyone,” she said.
In addition, the parade time was an issue, Hunter said. There was always about a two hour delay between when the parade ended and the concert began because Mardi Gras parading societies, which are enlisted for the Mardi-Gras-themed event, didn’t like going past 6:30 p.m., Hunter said.
Another big reason for the cancellation is the city asked event organizers if they would be able to reduce the cost to the city. This includes in-kind contributions like police officer pay,” Hunter said. The cancellation saves about $12,000 to $15,000, but the city contracts the event out to Events Mobile for $100,000.
Mobile has funded the New Year’s Eve fireworks separately in the past, Hunter said, but she doesn’t believe the city is doing that this year.
“We’re looking for someone to cover that,” she said. “We have sponsorship letters going out.”
Events Mobile has about $50,000 outstanding to fund the event, even after Austal contributed $25,000.
Hunter said the parade has been used in the past as a way to connect the MoonPie drop to the festivities associated with Carnival season. Instead of the parade, Hunter said the plan is to feature two floats and have them set up downtown.