Local Government Reviews Charitable Donations

Charities and non-profit organizations routinely turn to local government for financial support.

The cities of Gulfport and Biloxi will spend about a million dollars each on such requests next year.

But such donations have recently come under increased scrutiny. Some have questioned spending money on charities and non-profits, when streets go unpaved or drainage projects remain short on funding.

The non-profit "Cruisin the Coast" will receive five thousand dollars next year from the City of Gulfport. Event organizers had requested five times that much.

The City of Biloxi will support the "Loaves and Fishes" soup kitchen with more than 15 thousand dollars next year.

Some taxpayers have no problem with such government support.

"I have no problem with it at all. Government supports a whole lot of things I don't agree with. This thing I do agree with," said Eunice Juniel of Gulfport.

Lee Diaz of Biloxi feels the same.

"We're a community and I think we should support our community. And that includes non profit organizations."

Others prefer spending taxpayer money on things like new roads and drainage improvements.

Biloxi's Judy Tyler says government should first address local needs like roads and drainage before spending taxpayer dollars on non-profit groups.

"Yes. Yes. By all means, yes. The people can come out of pocket with the money themselves if they want to help charities."

Daniel Joyner lives in Harrison County.  He also says government spending should address important needs like roads and flooding.

"There's so many roads that are flooding now that we need to get everything fixed up so where we won't have such a problem with it."

While many see the issue of supporting non-profits as a simple question of setting priorities for local government spending, not everyone agrees with that thinking. Some say government should be able to support both charities and drainage improvement projects.

"I think we should be able to split up the money in such a way that we could be able to do both things. I don't see why that should be a problem," said Yvonne Fallo of Biloxi.

Groups like the Boy Scouts will probably continue seeking local government support. But they may face a closer review of such financial requests.