Reduction in contributions impacting non-profits

By Curtis Riggs | May 20, 2009

CAREFREE – Preparations for the fiscal year 2009-10 budget is turning out to bad news for area non-profit groups, which are already trying to do more with less because of the increasing need for services in the area.

Cave Creek officials announced early in the 2009-10 budget process the town would not be making contributions to area non-profits this year. Last week non-profit agency leaders learned Carefree will be cutting the contributions in half this year.

Carefree gave out $96,478 to 10 area non-profits last year. This year the amount the council is considering allocating to the local groups has been reduced to $42,544.

In the past Carefree has contributed 3 percent of local sales-tax revenue collected in Carefree along with a portion of sales-tax revenue paid back to Carefree from the State of Arizona.

“Now there is no set amount,” Carefree Town Clerk Betsy Wise said about sales-tax revenue expected to be down 15 percent this year and state shared revenue projected at a 14 percent decrease. Some close to the Carefree and state budgets point out a 19-percent reduction could be more in line.

Foothills Community Foundation Executive Director Bre Ulewicz said, “We are hurting like everyone else is right now. Requests for services increase during an economic downturn just as fund-raising decreases.”

She stresses, however, this could help the foundation in the long run as it will help volunteers learn to be more creative in their fund-raising.

“This will make us learn how to operate in a rough economy,” she said. “It will help us learn how to do things better.”

Chief among the concerns about the contributions this year is an agreement in place for Carefree to pay $16,667 annually to the new Desert Foothills YMCA for the next few years.