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Budget cuts for city of Savannah prompt outcry from organizations

Published: Dec. 7, 2016 at 11:39 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - More organizations are speaking out Wednesday night after learning some of their programs may be in jeopardy with the city's proposed budget cuts.

They say it's more about the things they offer the community that's going to lack. WTOC spoke with them as well as the city, once again.

"Art is key to a city's growth, and helping the city understand what it is," said Clinton Edminster, Arts Rise Savannah.

Different cultural arts and social service groups are pleading to the city to rethink the proposed hundreds of  thousands of dolllars in budget cuts.

"It's sometimes really difficult to find the funding to create the time and to create the programs that would allow for underprivileged kids to access arts and arts programming," Edminster said.

Edminster says investing in the arts in investing in the future.

"If we want Savannah to move forward as an arts and cultural area, then we need to embrace this immediately and not let funding slips like this fall through the cracks," Edminster said.

On the social services side, the Equal Opportunity Authority will lose all of the funding from the city for their foster grandparent program.

"We have to make sure that the generation of individuals who paved the way for us is not going to be left behind," said John Finney, Executive Director, Foster Grandparent Program.

Finney says this won't stop the program, but it leaves them scrambling to find funds, or trying to become self-sufficient.

"It will make it tougher to operate," Finney said.

The city does apologize for this tough decision, but public safety was more important to the voters.

"We are in a difficult situation and our budget is not structurally balanced, and the only thing we did this year even with the small cuts to non-profits is delay the pain that we're going to experience in 2017," said Bret Bell, Public Information Office Director.

They also added they're the only government agency in the region who provides these funds for non profits. City council will meet Thursday afternoon. There is expected to be large crowd letting their voices be heard on this issue.

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