Assembly Continues Struggle Over Nonprofit Funding

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly continues the struggle to allocate funds to nonprofits during a difficult fiscal time. At its work session last night it went over staff’s projected funding for the community groups. In June, the assembly asked staff to look back over the budget and see if it could scrape up extra sources for funds.

Borough Manager Michael Powers said staff did find one possible area of change involving a NOAA program in the school district.

“But given the huge deficit we’re facing relating to our bonded indebtness, staff cannot in good conscious recommend to you that that money be used for nonprofits. Rather, it should go into the column of helping reduce, offset the $1.3 million deficit.”

He said that was the only significant amount of money they found at this time. That put the assembly back where started earlier this summer.

Assemblyman Dan Rohrer said he identifies 2 types of nonprofits, those that primarily benefit people in need and those that benefit the community as a whole.

“Looking for ways to try to move forward, I personally, as much as I enjoy the improved quality of life in Kodiak, I feel more of a sense of responsibility and commitment to the needy and downtrodden, and so for myself, the struggle is where do we go from here?”

He said the American Red Cross, Kodiak Teen Court, and Special Olympics have been renting a facility from the borough for years, on which the borough recently raised rent and, in the past, their portion of the nonprofit funding has been dedicated to paying for the space.

“I am interested in looking seriously at pulling those 3 out of the midst of this and saying okay, for one year, we’ll go ahead and fund them out of the building – I can’t remember what the fund number is – but anyways, the building fund.”

Assemblywoman Rebecca Skinner also supported looking into that and furthermore emphasized funding the nonprofits that offer help to those in need, among the other nonprofits that provide vital services in the community.

“I do agree with funding kind of the early life and later life kinds of things, so [Kodiak] Head Start, I think that for some families and kids, that’s really important, so I can’t say it’s not a priority.”

She also supported funding the Alutiiq Heritage Foundation, the Kodiak Historical Society, and the Kodiak Maritime Museum from the tourism fund as outlined on the spreadsheet of potential funding.

The assembly’s next regular meeting is scheduled for September 1, and nonprofit funding does not currently appear on the agenda for that meeting.

In the interest of full disclosure, Kodiak Public Broadcasting Corporation has received funding from the borough in the past and is currently seeking funding again for fiscal year 2017.

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