Greater Freeport Partnership faces potentially terminal budget cuts

Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 6:08 PM CST
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FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR) - After a decision from the Freeport City Council, the Greater Freeport Partnership fears how budget cuts might affect the organization.

The Greater Freeport Partnership combines multiple organizations into one, supporting the economic development of both Freeport and Stephenson County. Helping businesses grow and serving as the Tourism Bureau and Chamber of Commerce, the nonprofit depends on investor funds to keep the pretzel city on track to grow.

Last week, the Freeport City Council made the decision to cut the Greater Freeport Partnership’s funding in half. This decision would mean that a quarter of the non-profits total investor funds would be re-allocated elsewhere in 2024. Greater Freeport Partnership executive director Andrea Schultz Winter says this decision is disappointing.

“We do have hope. The outpouring of support that we’ve had from the business community already reminds us that the work we do matters and is impactful and the city of freeport is our partner,” Schultz Winter says. “I mean we can’t do this work without them.”

At last night’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Schutlz Winter voiced her concerns for losing the funds with a letter to the city council. She says if the decision goes through, the organization could stand to lose more partnerships, and funds, throughout the city. A ripple effect that could lead the Greater Freeport Partnership down a path of termination.

First Ward Alderperson Tom Klemm made it clear that the decision is not official yet, saying more conversations need to be had with the Greater Freeport Partnership.

“Nothing’s a done deal but I think we need to move things forward and have conversations back and forth between everybody as far as what’s going on, what’s expected what we think should change,” Klemm says.

While more conversations are had, Schultz Winter says the community can show their support of the Greater Freeport Partnership.

“The action item that we can ask everyone to do is that if you’ve seen improvements in city within the last five years contact your council person and ask them to support the Greater Freeport Partnership,” Schulz Winter says.

Various community members have voiced their support, including President and CEO of FHN who wrote a letter on the non-profit’s behalf.