An inter-local contract dating back to 1987 determines the joint-funding levels between the city and county for the HRC.
The agreement specifies the county provides 9% of the funding and the city picks up the rest. Somewhere along the way, the county provided more than what they were contractually obligated to. In some cases, the county’s portion topped 13%. The County Council voted Wednesday morning to revert back to that contractually obligated 9% contribution. That decision means a potential drop in funding amounting to $15,000.
“The fix was in,” said HRC Chairman Robert Dion. “We knew it was going to be a vote against fully funding our commission. We knew there was likely a cut of some kind.”
It’s not a final blow but it will leave the commission dazed.
“It’s a sad day,” said Dion. “It’s a setback for sure.”
The commission focuses on allegations of discrimination. But the last several months, Dion says the commission has been dealing with allegations placed against them in an effort to undermine the agency.
“I think it’s ultimately regrettable,” said Dion. “It reflects badly on the people who have been leading a campaign against us for the better part of a year.”
Despite the allegations and decisions made against them, HRC members remain persistent.
“We’ll do what we can with the money we’re allotted,” said Dion. “We understand our mission, we’re proud of our mission, we’re proud of the work that we do and we’ll do what we can with the money the city and county gives us.”
The Evansville City Council can choose to contribute more money to make up for that shortfall at it’s next meeting on Oct. 22. But HRC members doubt that will happen.