Kodiak Daily Mirror - Borough assembly passes nonprofit funding
Borough assembly passes nonprofit funding
by Julie Herrmann
Jun 24, 2014 | 149 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Borough Assembly voted on nonprofit funding Thursday. (Julie Herrmann photo)
The Borough Assembly voted on nonprofit funding Thursday. (Julie Herrmann photo)
The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly passed a resolution funding nonprofits at their June 19 meeting amid lengthy discussion and a failed substitution amendment.

Twenty-five nonprofits applied for funding. Under the resolution, 17 nonprofits received funding and eight did not due to their applications either being late or missing required information, according to a memo accompanying the resolution.

Assembly member Mel Stephens proposed an amendment would have funded all the applicants with none receiving more money than last year or the requested total this year, whichever amount was less.

“Let’s all recognize the rationale for funding any of these nonprofit groups is that the programs and activities which are enabled by that funding result in significant benefits to the citizens of this borough as a whole,” Stephens said. “We shouldn’t be focusing on technical compliance or non-compliance with every single requirement of the application form.”

Stephens also disagreed with some nonprofits receiving increases in the funding they would be receiving compared to last year.

“I think we should be trying to spread the wealth more rather than concentrating it more,” Stephens said. “Under the substituted version, everybody gets funded to a certain degree.”

The rest of the assembly disagreed with Stephens.

“These applicants are very familiar with grant requirements,” said assembly member and non-profit funding sub-committee member Chris Lynch.

She explained that when the borough began the new funding process last year, they told the nonprofits they would receive a call about any irregularities that first year. “We didn't feel we needed to do that this year because it was already a tried system and applicants don't get that benefit any other time they’re submitting an application,” Lynch said.

Carol Austerman, assembly and subcommittee member, added that the sub-committee scheduled an open meeting in case any nonprofits needed their paperwork reviewed or questions answered.

“We went through every application and looked at how many people they served and what the amount was that they were requesting based on the amount of people served, and that was part of our evaluation. The amounts were not based on a certain number of people getting a certain number of dollars,” Austerman told the Mirror.

Stephens’ proposed amendment failed, with only him voting in support of it.

About the original amendment, Austerman said the subcommittee spends hours poring over a three-inch binder of information on the non-profits to come up with the amounts given to each one.

“One of the things that we’ve tried very hard to do in the last couple of years on the subcommittee is tried to be very diligent about understanding what these nonprofits do with the money the borough gives them because it is taxpayer money,” Austerman said.

Three nonprofits received less funding than they had requested. The Alutiiq Heritage Foundation had requested $24,348 and received $19,041. The requested funding was for developing Alutiiq Word of the Week podcasts and a new marketing plan for the museum.

“We recommend cutting the amount that would pay for the marketing plan since that portion of the request does not fall under Borough powers,” said a memo from the subcommittee.

The Kodiak Area Native Association requested $12,000 and received $6,000 toward their WIC program, “since this is a state program and KANA has a budget that is significantly larger than the other nonprofits applying for funding,” the memo said.

KMXT requested $15,000 and received $10,000 since their request was going toward general operating costs and “the Assembly has voiced its desire to move away from funding general operating expenses toward funding specific needs… In addition, the Alutiiq Museum’s request included funding of just over $3,000 to be paid to KMXT for airing the Alutiiq Word of the Week.”

The original resolution to fund the non-profits passed 6-1, with Stephens opposed.

Contact Julie Herrmann at jherrmann@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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