Children’s Trust approves unallocated funds, tentative budget 

Children's Trust of Alachua County logo on door
Photo by J.C. Derrick

The Children’s Trust of Alachua County (CTAC) approved a tentative budget for fiscal year 2025 at its regular meeting on June 10, along with plans for about $1.6 million in unallocated funds left over from FY24. 

The Trust has split the unallocated funds into CTAC’s three goals. 

Goal 1, “Children & youth are healthy and have nurturing caregivers & relationships,” is allocated $809,629. Staff did not have enough recommendations to use up the entire amount, but pointed $16,700 toward Doula friendly hospital designation, a collaboration with Dr. Adetola Louis-Jacques, an obstetrician/gynecologist (OBGYN) with UF Health. 

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Another $20,000 is to go to postpartum doula supports, $5,000 for Maternal Child Health Initiative consulting and training support and $65,000 for data collection in collaboration with Louis-Jacques to determine the community’s needs. 

 Member Tina Certain confirmed with staff that the program reaches out to women of color specifically, and Member Ken Cornell said with another $700,000 left in the Goal 1 pot, CTAC needs to recruit more community partners to support nurturing caregivers. 

“We still are not spending 700, which is great from the standpoint that we’re not spending money if we don’t have good use for it, not great from the standpoint of, it’s our primary goal that we need to allocate 50% of our money towards,” Cornell said. 

 CTAC’s Goal 2 is “Children & youth learn what they need to be successful,” and was the trust’s main focus before its new strategic plan. 

Of the $180,628 in unallocated funding sent into the Goal 2 pot, $7,500 is set to go to Alachua County Amplify. 

Another $100,000, set to go to the startup of a Junior Achievement 3DE program at Eastside High School, hinges on word back from the state on whether the funding is allowable, or whether it would tangle with the School Board of Alachua County’s territory. 

The trust also set aside $300,000 for the Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County, but how that money will be able to be used under a matched funding category is still under state review. Until the state decides, the funding will be used to provide childcare to families. 

CTAC’s Goal 3, “Children & youth live in a safe community,” is to receive $615,074. 

The trust has set aside $250,000 to go to the Youth Gun Violence Initiative in partnership with the city of Gainesville and Alachua County, $200,000 to AMIKids Gainesville, and $150,000 to the YMCA Teen Center. 

The overflow funding could have been rolled into the FY25 budget, but the Trust chose instead to have staff recommend other uses that can fit into FY24, which Cornell called a transition year as CTAC adopts its strategic plan. 

Several board members noted that the organizations receiving this funding need to be fully aware that it is one-time funding, coming from last year’s overflow. 

“That’s a wonderful way to think about it,” Member Mary Chance said during a June 10 workshop preceding the meeting. “That we get to try something, fill a gap, do some research, have a proof of concept, and call it that.” 

Budget FY25 

The board also approved a tentative budget for FY25, including a total of $16,259,363, which is a 12.3% decrease over last year’s amended budget. Staff credited the drop almost entirely to capital expenditures that were budgeted last year and are now realized. 

One of the main changes in this year’s budget is a 40.3% increase in personnel budget, raising the allocation to $2,219,490 to accommodate a 5% cost of living increase for all personnel, a 3% increase in the cost of fringe benefits, and the addition of six positions as the trust continues to grow. 

The budget also includes $175,000 for a needs assessment to help create a comprehensive literacy plan for Alachua County. 

The Children’s Trust’s proposed millage for FY25 of 0.45, down from last year’s 0.4612 rate and a 0.4365 rollback rate, is projected to generate $525,250, a 5.8% increase over last year’s millage revenue. 

A millage rate is a property tax that equates to $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in home value. 

The tentative budget also includes an estimated $425,000 interest revenue. 

Editor’s note: The millage rate number of .4612 was incorrectly posted in the original story as .4212.

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When there are unallocated / unused funds has it ever happene3d that an organization returns the funds OR invests it for a future “rainy day”? This obsession to spend more just because your credit card allows you to (an alogy) is so archaic and irresponsible.