City + Citizen News

Four non-profits commit to new fund for police and fire services

Tuesday, March 17

SRHS, Wofford College, Mary Black Foundation & Spartanburg County Foundation initiate groundbreaking effort


At Monday's City Council meeting, four of the city’s most prominent non-profits — including the city’s largest employer and two of its biggest landholders — have announced the creation of a new fund to provide additional financial support for the City of Spartanburg’s police and fire services. Just the second such non-profit-supported funding stream of its kind for essential local government services in the state of South Carolina, the new City Police and Fire Services Fund will be launched with $115,000 in combined contributions from Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Wofford College, the Mary Black Foundation and the Spartanburg County Foundation.


The funds will be held in an account at Carolina Alliance Bank, and will be distributed annually based on requests from the city manager during the city’s annual budget process every spring. The new funding stream holds significant promise in the City of Spartanburg, where close to 30 percent of property is owned by non-profit or public-sector organizations.


“Once again, non-profit organizations in Spartanburg are redefining public-private partnership and advancing their roles as community leaders,” said City Manager Ed Memmott. “The new City Police and Fire Services Fund will help support these most critical functions of local government, services that account for nearly half of the City’s annual operating budget. This funding will help ensure that we are able to support our police and fire personnel with the best training, equipment and technology available.”


Similar arrangements are not unheard of nationally, but remain rare in South Carolina and throughout the Southeast. While most such agreements are initiated by cities and towns, the City Police and Fire Services Fund in Spartanburg was proposed by the group of four non-profits. One of the group’s goals is to encourage other non-profits in the City to follow their lead and help grow the fund.


“I look forward to seeing how this fund grows over time as other non-profit organizations examine their ability to financially support these essential city services,” said Mary Black Foundation President and CEO Kathy Dunleavy. “Of course, non-profits provide an enormous amount of value to our community. At the same time, we all receive tremendous value from local government. This fund is recognition that world-class police and fire services, while essential, don’t just happen. The Mary Black Foundation is proud to do its part to support this irreplaceable function of local government.”


Also at Monday's meeting:

° Council voted unanimously to approve the second reading of a development agreement to bring a new hotel to Downtown Spartanburg. Follow this link for more information.


° A rezoning request for 1635 John B White Sr Blvd. was approved 6-0. The property is currently wooded and the owner plans to construct a new Little Caesar's pizza restaurant on the site.


° A planned runway extension for the Downtown Memorial Airport is set to get underway with a contract for the first phase of the project awarded to Rifenburg Construction for $3,089,584, with the 90 percent funded by the Federal Aviation Administration. The City's portion of the cost is $154,479. Phase I work will include relocation of existing utilities, grading, and piping of a creek that crosses the area of the runway extension.


For more from the meeting, see the full video and roundup of our live tweets below.