Nonprofit groups benefit from new Tupelo budget

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Tupelo StockBy Robbie Ward

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tony Lute looks forward to buying a few mannequins and display cases at the Tupelo Veterans Museum.

For the first time, the City Council approved $2,500 for the museum within the city’s Oren Dunn Museum located near Ballard Park. Operating from donations, Lute said he would make the most of the taxpayer’s contribution to help the museum that showcases memorabilia from many U.S. military conflicts.

“Even though it’s a small amount, it’s a big help,” said Lute, museum founder.

When City Council members approved $37.1 million for the 2014 fiscal year earlier this week, a sprinkling of it, less than 1-percent, will support 15 nonprofit organizations in the community. State law requires each organization receiving tax dollars to meet requirements outlining how the group benefits the community.

The museum is among three organizations receiving city support next fiscal year but doesn’t currently.

Another organization to receive funding for the next fiscal year will be the Tupelo Historic Preservation Society, which will receive $5,000. Doyce Deas, an officer with the group, said taxpayer funding will help members of the group attend training required for the city to keep a special designation related to receiving grants. It will also help the group with costs associated with hosting a historic preservation conference in Tupelo in 2014.

Deas said the city agreeing to financially support her organizations and others also has a symbolic importance.

“I think it gives us credibility that we’re recognized by the city as part of the city,” she said.

Considered separately in the city’s budget from other outside contributions, the Tupelo Lee County Library received an additional $5,000 to help increase the number of eBooks available for people who live or work in the community. Jeff Tomlinson, director of the library, said he hopes the city will keep funding in the budget for future years to continue increasing the number of book titles available through this medium.

“It’s a new era for us establish local funding sources for eBooks,” he said.

Not all organizations receive direct contributions. The city will support four groups through utility assistance, paying a portion of utility costs.

robbie.ward@journalinc.com