Sachem Fund tightens up rules as money dwindles
By Claire Bessette
Published 10/22/2009 12:00 AMUpdated 10/22/2009 03:08 AM0
COMMENTS ( 1 )
Norwich - Facing dwindling funds in the future, the Sachem Fund Committee will be stricter with money already allocated, reclaiming some grant money unspent by one recipient and giving several others a Jan. 1 deadline to spend their money.
Nearly $107,000 remains outstanding in grants allocated to various agencies but not yet spent.
"We do need to recapture some of this money if we're going to have another round," committee Chairman and Alderman William Nash said.
The fund, created in 2007 by the city and the Mohegan tribe with each contributing $200,000 per year for five years, has become a victim of the recession. Both entities cut allocations to $50,000 this year, leaving the committee with $100,000 in new money by next spring's next grant round, instead of $400,000. The city's $50,000 allocation this year has earned about $26,000 in interest, giving an expected total of about $126,000 for next spring.
The grant application round will start Feb. 1, with applications due by March 1. The committee will review the applications and make a recommendation to the City Council, which must approve funding, at the first meeting in May.
The committee sent a letter last month to several grant recipients asking for the status of their grants. Based on their responses, the committee voted Wednesday to recall a $40,000 grant to the city Recreation Department that had been awarded to create a recreational boating program. The committee will send Recreation Director Luis DePina a letter inviting him to apply again for this or another program next year.
The committee also voted to give strict deadlines on several grant recipients who hold $66,943 in unspent funds, asking for significant progress on their programs by Jan. 1. The Downtown Neighborhood Revitalization Zone Committee retains $10,000 unspent for several intended programs. While committee members agreed the total is not enough for all the group's projects, they said it should be enough to create a new Web site and to publish a brochure.
Others with outstanding grants are:
• Public Works Department, $28,258 for renovation of porch at Buckingham Memorial building.
• City Manager's office, $24,092 for cleanup of 26 Shipping St.
• Public Works Department, $4,379 for neighborhood improvements at Huntington Place.
• Norwich Tourism Office, $213 for summer concert series.
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EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Because of poor management by the MTGA (the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority), the MTGA doesn't have the money to put into the Sachem Fund. Not only is the MTGA hurting it's own members (the Mohegan Tribe) by it's alleged mishandling of management of the Mohegan Sun, now they are hurting the Citizens of Norwich, Connecticut. How does a business that has made Billions of Dollars over the years find itself in this situation? Could it be poor planning? What do you think?
THESE ARE THE OPINIONS AND IDEAS OF BROKENWING.