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April 4, 2014

KMBB looking for local funding

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Keep Milledgeville-Baldwin Beautiful (KMBB) chapter supported by the local Young Professionals restarted as an affiliate of the nationwide program Keep America Beautiful trying to keep the community spiffy through various programs, events and community activities.

After a yearlong existence, the organization requires funding to expand its local mission.

The KMBB board recently created a change.org petition asking the City of Milledgeville to include the chapter in its proposed 2014-2015 budget.

KMBB board chair Sara Stone said City Manager Barry Jarrett was receptive when viewing the organization’s proposed budget and letter seeking a city line item last September.

“Now that the city is really discussing the budget, we decided that the best way to get some attention and be seriously considered was with a petition showing community support,” Stone said. “It’s not out of anger or anything.”

The previous KMBB chapter that disbanded around 2010 received $5,000 from the city and Baldwin County’s budgets.

The board is “aiming high” with a $10,000 funding application.

“Whatever we ask of the city, we are going to ask the same amount of the county,” Stone said.

KMBB Executive Director Andrew Davis said the city and county weren’t able to match the old $5,000 allocation precedent in either body’s current year budgets.

“We are carrying on doing what we are supposed to do, but we are doing it with very little funding,” Davis said. “Seeing that we are an organization solely for the benefit of our city and county, we are petitioning to see if they can add us on.”

City Councilman Walter Reynolds, District 4, said the grassroots organization benefits industrial development and community pride.

“I see this as a great thing for City Council to consider funding,” he said. “They aren’t coming to us empty handed. They’ve done their own fundraising to keep the program going. I’d love to see this supported not only by the City of Milledgeville but Baldwin County as well.”

Funding would allow KMBB’s pursuit of national programs already designed and cleanups.

“Basically, you are able to order materials and information on how to implement these programs in your community,” Davis said.

These include recycling, anti-cigarette bud and other campaigns KMBB could select as needed. Stone said youth education remains a critical KMBB programming tool to affect change.

Citizens can expect the “Bring One for the Chipper” Christmas tree recycling program at the end of the year.

Three community cleanup days at the Baldwin County Airport and Industrial Park corridors, along with Southside work down South Wayne Street and Swint Avenue were successful. Currently, community donations are the sole backers for trash bags and food at these cleanups.

The money would also help fund Davis’ part-time salary. Local affiliates have higher success rates and impact the community better with a paid director position, as opposed to a volunteer capacity.

“This commitment requires a great bit of time on behalf of the executive director,” Reynolds said. “When you rely on volunteerism for a position like that, people often get burned out.”

A certified Keep America Beautiful trainer worked with the local chapter this January. Board members learned proper structure and affiliate regulation together with programs to fit Milledgeville’s needs.

KMBB is working on a Baldwin County litter index as well.

Davis said he is excited about additional partnerships around town. Volunteers with at the Lucille Harris Community Garden and Soloman Harris Walking Trail in Harrisburg attended this week’s board meeting.

“We want to promote these existing organizations too,” the KMBB director said. “In future collaboration, not only will they come provide help for our cleanup efforts and such, but we will advertise their goal. We are hoping to work with local Boy Scout troops for the same reason.”

The Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority already pledged $1,000 for the group that adopted the CSH Pecan Grove. KMBB hopes to gain support from large companies located on Highway 22 and local institutions of higher learning.

“Hopefully, they will find a benefit in keeping our community beautiful. They have students that come from out of town. A clean community leaves a favorable impression on students and parents who might want to come and buy a house,” Stone said. “We see a huge potential and hope others feel the same way and help rally to our cause.”

The next KMBB community cleanup is Saturday, April 12 on Meriwether Road. Details are coming on the group’s Facebook page.

Any citizens and/or organizations that want to plug in can reach KMBB at kmbbdirector@gmail.com.

Board meetings held the first Wednesday of each month at 5:15 p.m. are typically at Exchange Bank downtown.

“If you have an interest in getting involved, that’s all the qualifications you need,” Stone said.

To sign the petition, visit www.change.org/petitions/city-of-milledgeville-georgia-allocate-funding-in-city-budget-for-the-community-beneficial-group-keep-milledgeville-baldwin-beautiful.

 

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