Kodiak nonprofits who want borough funding will need to gather their forces and defend their cases over the next couple of weeks. As stated at the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly work session Thursday night, the money budgeted for nonprofits was decreased by 40% for fiscal year 2017, and assembly members will soon decide how to distribute the reduced funds.
Whether or not nonprofits speak up may determine the outcome. Mayor Jerrol Friend said the assembly can’t be sure at this point whether all the nonprofits still want funding, and Assemblyman Dan Rohrer argued the majority probably do.
“Ninety-five percent of them have grown to rely on funding from the Kodiak Island Borough over the course of the last 10 or 12 years and with very, very few exceptions, if we went out and said do you want to put in for support from the borough, I know of one organization that’s probably not going do that on this list, but every single other one of them is gonna to say, yeah, definitely, we’ve been using money from the Kodiak Island Borough for 10 years.”
Assembly members also disagreed about whether or not they had thoroughly discussed the top priority nonprofits, and Assemblyman Larry LeDoux said he didn’t want to repeat a process they’d already completed last year.
“Granted, every year we approve a certain [amount] of money, but if you look down through the years, Food Bank, Brother Francis Shelter, Resource Center, Salvation Army, Senior Citizens, they get money every year. These aren’t new people. They sort of depend on this. Not the exact amount, we don’t have a contract with them, but you have a responsibility here, and now what I’m hearing is we’re starting all over again. At the start of the fiscal year.”
When it comes to the statements from nonprofits, Assemblyman Kyle Crow said he doesn’t want emotional appeals.
“We’re looking for something tangible. How will this impact specifically – any matching funds, what programs specifically will it impact, and what are the consequences of that? And if I get that very specifically, it’ll help me to make the decision.”
The assembly decided it would address the nonprofit grants at its regular meeting on July 14 and would make the issue public so that nonprofits are aware they need to take action should they like to secure funding.
In the interest of full disclosure, the Kodiak Public Broadcasting Corporation, which owns KMXT, has received borough funding in past years.