As the Jefferson City Council winds down the budget process, many are concerned about the future of JCTV.
The station's $110,000 of city funds was eliminated in Mayor Eric Struemph's proposed budget, and the council, so far, has made no changes to that proposal. At the public hearing on the proposed budget last week, several JCTV supporters spoke in favor of continued funding, citing the importance of the station to Lincoln University students and the community.
But with declining revenues, many council members who support the station are unsure of where they would be able to find the money necessary to continue funding JCTV.
"That's the million dollar question, so to speak, right now," said 5th Ward Councilman Larry Henry. "That's just extremely hard to do."
Henry said the city has an obligation to support the local university and if there's no funding for JCTV, which he said may be likely, then the city needs to find another way to continue and encourage the relationship with Lincoln.
Second Ward Councilman J. Rick Mihalevich said all the council members want to show support for Lincoln but he is unsure if that will happen through funding JCTV.
Second Ward Councilman Shawn Schulte said the city does not have money available to fund added projects or services. Schulte noted there are some things he wishes he could add to the budget, but it's just not possible in this fiscal year.
"Money's tight, and there's just not a place to do that," Schulte said.
First Ward Councilman Jim Branch said in the tight fiscal year, the city has to focus on the essentials and $110,000, especially in light of RR Donnelley closure, is a sizable chunk of money.
"To me, things are not looking real good (for JCTV)," Branch said. "It's not an essential service."
First Ward Councilman Rick Prather said the money isn't there for JCTV, but he's willing to listen to any proposals or arguments to keep the station's funding.
"I just don't see the money," Prather said.
Third Ward Councilman Ken Hussey said it's important for the council to have some discussion about the priority of public access television and its effect on the transparency of local government.
"You never know what may happen on Monday night," Hussey said.
Fourth Ward Councilwoman Carrie Carroll said she had asked staff to look at the issue of JCTV and come back to the council with any options they have to find funding for the station.
Fifth Ward Councilman Ralph Bray said he wishes there was money for JCTV and the question of whether it will be funded in the next fiscal year is tough.
"I do not know what the outcome will be for JCTV," Bray said.