By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Council members directed City Manager Dan McKeen to work toward appropriating $28,174 to the 15 nonprofits that provide services to the city’s elderly, low-income and mentally and physically challenged populations.
The figure is just more than half the money the city originally planned to provide to nonprofits it has historically helped, working with the United Way of Clallam County, which manages the funds and helps decide, with the help of City Council members, which nonprofit gets how much.
“If we went for half, then we are making an effort,” Mayor Cherie Kidd said at the work session.
“We do what we can with what we have.”
Jody Moss, executive director of the United Way of Clallam County, said in a Wednesday interview she was thrilled council members wanted to restore at least some of the human services funding.
Nonprofits still will have to work toward filling the funding gap, she said.
“Whenever there’s this kind of reduction, of course we want to raise resources,” Moss said, “and that will depend on what people and businesses will be able to give [in donations].”
A final public hearing and vote on the city’s 2013 budget is set for the council’s regular Tuesday meeting, slated to start at 6 p.m. in council chambers at 321 E. Fifth St.
The nonprofit funding was one of numerous cuts McKeen proposed to fill a roughly $840,000 budget gap for 2013.
The money City Council members want to add to health and human services funding comes from an unexpected $50,208 from new construction, due largely to biomass cogeneration expansion construction at the Nippon Paper Industries USA Inc. mill in Port Angeles, as well as a $19,240 property tax refund from the Clallam County Assessor’s Office, city Finance Director Byron Olson said.
Olson said he removed $42,274 from the unexpected $69,448 to account for the estimated amount of late or uncollected property taxes, which Olson said the city factors into all its property tax decisions, leaving slightly more than $27,000 available.
“We just look at what the final number is rather than what the nature of those items are,” Olson said.
At the work session, City Councilman Patrick Downie suggested giving the money to nonprofits.
“We ought to be able to figure out amongst ourselves how to do that,” Downie said.
City Councilman Dan Di Guilio agreed, adding that the money would allow the affected nonprofits time to secure their own funding sources before the city’s contribution completely dries up.
“I think to just cut them off and say we’re not going to contribute to them anymore is unfair,” Di Guilio said.
City Council members also supported cutting their own budget for traveling and training expenses by $1,000 and directed that amount to health and human services funding.
This change will bring the council’s traveling and training fund to $11,000, down from $12,000, and make the council’s entire budget for 2013 $67,800.
Deputy Mayor Brad Collins left the council chambers during discussions of the nonprofit funding since his employer, Serenity House of Clallam County, has historically received funding from the city.
Di Guilio once served on the United Way of Clallam County board and worked until 2009 for Olympic Community Action Programs, which has historically received funding from the city.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.