2014 Port Angeles budget proposes nixing nonprofit funds

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — For the second year in a row, the city’s 2014 preliminary budget removes funding previously set aside for nonprofits providing health and human services to the city’s low-income, homeless senior and mentally and physically challenged populations.

“For staff, this recommendation was one of the more difficult budget decisions,” City Manager Dan McKeen said Wednesday.

The funding recommendations were part of a city-department-wide presentation on the proposed 2014 $128.3 million city budget given to City Council members during a three-hour work session Tuesday night.

No council decisions were made at the meeting.

City staff also initially recommended such health and humans services funding be deleted during last year’s budget discussions, though $30,000 was ultimately included in the final 2013 budget and given to 14 Port Angeles nonprofits.

Work session

Council members will discuss the proposed budget at a 5 p.m. Nov. 12 work session, McKeen said.

The first of two public hearings on the budget is slated for the council’s regular Nov. 19 meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 321 E. Fifth St.

The total $128.3 million budget includes 28.4 million for capital projects and $99.9 million for operations, which encompasses the city’s $18.9 million general fund.

The proposed 2014 general fund amount pays for most of the costs associated with the city’s departments.

McKeen said he and his staff had to look at all areas of the city budget and ensure funding was in place for maintenance of the city’s existing facilities and infrastructure.

“We looked at all areas we felt where we could make reductions, and ultimately, it’s up to the City Council to set the priorities in the budget process,” McKeen said.

The United Way of Clallam County acts as a shepherd for the health and human services funds, helping decide with city staff which local nonprofits get how much, Executive Director Jody Moss said.

The $30,000 approved in 2013 for health and human services went to 14 Port Angeles nonprofits, according to United Way figures.

The year before, these nonprofits received just more than $56,000 from the city.

Effects of cuts

Moss said she has heard some nonprofits have curtailed hours because of city cuts.

“It may be they’re serving huge numbers of people but with reduced frequency,” Moss said.

Moss said she plans to address council members at an upcoming meeting about at least partially restoring funds.

“We know there are people who sit on the City Council very much in support of [health and human services], and we hope they will be able to find some funds in the budget to maintain some funding,” Moss said, adding that she also considers McKeen a strong supporter of the United Way of Clallam County.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 23. 2013 5:37PM
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