DELBARTON – Following a lengthy discussion, the Delbarton City Council voted to approve a financial commitment of $2,000 to help fund the 21st annual Delbarton Homecoming event.
Councilman Albert Totten approached the subject during Monday’s regular meeting of the Delbarton City Council. Since Totten also serves as Chairman of the Homecoming Committee, he abstained from making a motion on this agenda item.
Totten opened the discussion by inviting anyone that wishes to attend to the next meeting of the Homecoming Committee scheduled for Thursday, June 16 at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at Delbarton City Hall.
Due to the current economic situation faced by the state and county, Totten explained the Homecoming Committee is having a difficult time securing the funding needed for the event.
“I don’t know what is going to happen yet with the state budget. Last year, we got $2,800 for the homecoming from the State Fairs and Festivals…” Totten explained.
Totten continued, explaining that other sources of funding previously available to the Homecoming Committee has also been reduced or eliminated. “The question comes down to, do we want to have the homecoming and can we afford it. Should we call it quits after 20 years? Obviously, I do not think that is the best option but I think we need to look at the possibility of continuing it at a reduced cost and reductions,” Totten stated. “What I am asking for is we need a commitment from the town as what the town can do financially directly so we know what we can do Thursday night.”
Totten also explained that declining interest from Delbarton residents to participate in planning the event is also a factor currently faced by the committee. “To be honest with you, it seems like the interest is waning a little bit, we are getting less volunteers…I have been trying to get a meeting together for some time now but everyone has been busy. You can count on about 12 people that are 100 percent in… Again it comes down to whether or not we are going to have some money to do homecoming. I think it is a real benefit to the town. It brings a lot of people in,” Totten stated.
Delbarton Mayor John Preece responded stating, “Over the years, this has grown… It seems like it is ingrained and people expect it, especially not so much the people here, but the people away from here. It is such a positive slant for the town. People come in here and the good will, fellowship and camaraderie, it just seems to be an event that would be hard for us not to do. I think people would be very disappointed…I would hate to see this town right now give up this homecoming.”
The discussion continued focusing on where possible cut backs could be made to reduce costs and activities usually featured at the weekend long event such as class reunions, blue grass music, and a fish fry.
Council also continued the discussion on the worsening economic situation and the uncertainty of funding in relation to the annual event. In previous years, the Homecoming Committee could depend on state funding from West Virginia Fairs and Festivals as well as county funding.
Following the discussion Preece stated, “Is there a motion to fund the homecoming to the tune of a minimum amount of two thousand dollars and you can give us a report back at the next meeting on what it all looks like?”
Councilman Ralph Maynard made the motion and it was seconded by Councilman Mark Sizemore. The motion to approve a minimum of two thousand dollars to help fund the 21st annual Delbarton Homecoming passed unanimously. Preece stated in conclusion, “We have had a lot of discussion about it and I think the amount of discussion is indicative of how important we feel that this event is to us.”
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)