Discussion about nonprofit grant money dominated the first part of the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly’s work session last Thursday night. Assemblymembers evaluated the spreadsheet of possible grants with the new budget in mind and Assemblyman Larry LeDoux expressed concern about agencies’ shrinking funds.
“We see some very critical institutions that serve health and safety in our community being severely reduced. Brother Francis Shelter going from $70,000 to $49,000,” says LeDoux. “And at the same time, we see new applicants who were not there who are not necessarily related to health and safety receiving substantial amounts of money.”
LeDoux suggested they identify and agree on organizations that are vital to the community’s continued well-being and give them priority, to which the assembly agreed. After careful deliberation, they settled on the four nonprofits to be included on that list, which are Brother Francis Shelter, the Kodiak Island Food Bank, the Kodiak Women’s Resource and Crisis Center, and Senior Citizens of Kodiak.
They then decided to decrease the other nonprofit grants accordingly. Meagan Christiansen had helped compile the spreadsheet for this year and asked for a clarification of the decision.
“You took the FY15 amount and reduced it by ten percent?” Christiansen said. “Salvation Army was given a 10,000 dollar amount and now you want the rest of them to be based on a percentage of their overall – take what’s left, take those requests, and measure the percentage of the overall, and reduce it proportionally.”
Mayor Friend confirmed that she was correct.
Borough Manager Bud Cassidy says the borough assembly is restricted in how much money they can provide nonprofits, and it turned to the bed tax fund balance for museums and other organizations that attract visitors from out of town.
“There’s $390,000 worth of money the assembly is going to distribute among nonprofits,” he says. “So, there are four of them as it turns out that they decided are more tourism oriented. Instead of taking it out of the nonprofit fund, they’re going to take it out of the tourism fund, so what that means is that there’ll be more money for nonprofit groups.”
Cassidy says there’s no set deadline for the final spreadsheet and they could move forward at the next regular meeting on August 6 or after.