As the Kodiak Borough Assembly looks toward finalizing the borough’s FY 2015 budget, it’s deciding how to allocate nonprofit funding. During Thursday’s work session the assembly reviewed a recommendation from the nonprofit funding committee – a recommendation that didn’t include a number of funding requests from local organizations.
Assemblywoman Carol Austerman said the budget for nonprofit support in 2015 was set at $351,000, but the borough received 25 applications from local nonprofits totaling more than $476,000.
“And of course we didn’t anywhere near that much money to allocate. So the first thing we did was review all the applications for complete and full information and you can see the list in the memo of the organizations that we disregarded because they did not provide complete information. We felt like we could not in good faith give those organizations funding and take funding away from other organizations that did provide the exact information that was requested.”
The organizations that were disregarded from borough funding due to incomplete applications include The Humane Society of Kodiak, American Red Cross, Kodiak Head Start, Salvation Army of Kodiak, Threshold Services and Kodiak Maritime Museum. Special Olympics and Girl Scouts also missed out on funding because their applications were turned in late. All total, those disregarded applications equaled just over $61,000.
Three nonprofits that were included in the borough’s funding proposal will receive lower dollar amounts than they requested. The Alutiiq Heritage Foundation will receive about $5,000 less than its request of $24,348. Kodiak Area Native Association’s request of $12,000 was cut in half and KMXT’s request of $15,000 was reduced to $10,000.
Austerman said the justification behind those decreased amounts were different for each organization.
Assemblyman Mel Stephens took issue with the nonprofit funding proposal and even defended one of the organizations that was disregarded.
“The Humane Society, my interpretation of their letter to us was, look we provided the required information. It was mislabeled as what we had done in fiscal 13, it was in fact what we did in fiscal 14, please take that into account. So I think the Humane Society should be funded.”
Stephens also asked if anyone from the nonprofit funding committee actually called the organizations that were missing information in their applications.
“Or did we just say oh this is wonderful, this is an excuse not to fund these. If it’s the latter, I think it’s really cavalier.”)
Austerman, who sits on the nonprofit funding committee, said they had to work with budget they were given and tough decisions had to be made.
“The committee was given a dollar figure to work with and we did our best to work within that. We did not pick up the phone and call the organizations after the deadline to turn in the applications to tell them they were missing information because we did that last year. Last year was the first year that we did our application process and we took that as a learning year. And every piece of information that was missing or questioned last year we did pick up the phone and called them and we explicitly said to everyone last year, and told them this year, that we will not be babysitting your application. You have to get it in and it has to be complete.”
She said there was also a preapplication meeting before the deadline where nonprofits could have their requests looked at for complete information.
Overall, 17 organizations are tentatively set to receive funding from the borough, totaling almost $399,000. That is merely a recommendation from the committee, and Austerman emphasized that the decision on whether or not to proceed with that nonprofit funding plan is up to the assembly as a whole. The assembly is hoping to finalize its 2015 budget during the June 19 regular meeting.