City Council Finalizes Community Grant Awards For FY 2019-20 - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

City Council Finalizes Community Grant Awards For FY 2019-20

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Posted: Friday, September 6, 2019 5:33 pm | Updated: 6:01 pm, Fri Sep 6, 2019.

For three hours of their four-hour meeting Aug. 20, 2019, the Coronado City Council covered all aspects of the Community Grant Program. After a flurry of motions, friendly amendments, motions that died for the lack of a second, and some impressive math skills, the council awarded $1 million in grants to a total of 15 different non-profit organizations.

But there were mitigating circumstances which complicated matters. The Coronado July 4th Parade organization didn’t file a request for funding for FY 2019-20 and the Council carved out $35,500 for the community celebration, without making the award to a specific group. An additional $2,000 was allocated for a Memorial Day observance. The largest grant award already agreed upon, was the third year of a three-year agreement with the Coronado Historical Association (CHA) in the amount of $381,350. The appropriations for those three elements were grouped together, voted on and approved at the outset of the discussions. A listing of the final awarded grant totals accompanies this article.

With more funds requested than the $1 million the Council had allocated to this line item in their previous budget discussions, cuts were made to several of the requests. The agreement with the CHA left $618,650 to be awarded. Specifically, grant requests from 17 organizations representing 29 applications came to a total of $752,738. So $134,088 in cuts were required.

According to the City Staff report in the agenda packet for the meeting, for the first time a group of, “Experienced, unaffiliated field readers evaluated each application based on a 100-point ranking scale in the areas of program quality, organizational capacity, financial capacity, community engagement, and partnership. All field readers are Coronado residents and have considerable expertise in non-profits, foundations, and educational institutions.”

The Community Grant Sub-committee, consisting of Mayor Richard Bailey and Councilmember Mike Donovan made their own set of recommendations, which were in most cases the numbers the council worked from to make their final determinations.

Each of the non-profits who requested funding were given an opportunity to address the City Council. Councilmember Marvin Heinze said before the presentations were made, “The challenge is the allocation of taxpayer dollars for a public purpose. So the things I am interested in hearing from each organization are how this benefits the citizens, how many citizens does it benefit, why should we be spending our taxpayer dollars for this purpose, and what is that public purpose?” The non-profit presenters complied with his request in varying degrees.

In gross numbers, the organization that sustained the largest cut was Coronado SAFE, which requested a total of $225,000 to be spread among Counseling Services, a Youth Prevention Program, plus Parent and Community Education. Despite strong community-based support for SAFE from a number of people in attendance at the meeting, and Councilmembers Bill Sandke, Whitney Benzian, and Heinze, their final approved grant total was $155,112, nearly $70,000 short of their initial request.

A major philosophical difference arose when the grant request for the Coronado Chamber of Commerce was discussed, which originally was $95,000 for the promotion of business and $15,000 for the Annual Holiday Parade, which kicks off the Christmas season in Coronado. The sub-committee’s recommendation was for $70,000 for business promotion, while leaving the parade allocation intact.

Mayor Bailey said of the Chamber’s request, “Using taxpayer dollars to promote local businesses to me is not an appropriate use of city funds. I believe that if the business community, which of course we all support, and want to see maintain its vibrancy, chooses to engage with an organization such as the Chamber of Commerce and pursue economies of scale in marketing their businesses, I think that’s entirely appropriate. I hesitate to use taxpayer dollars to promote private businesses. That’s what I struggled with.”

Councilmember Donovan added, “I thought the Chamber’s application frankly didn’t meet what our intent was. They didn’t break out the events. What we were looking for this year was to break out the events, the cost of those events, and what the advantages are. That part of the Chamber’s application seemed to be here are all the great things we do. For those reasons, I thought $70,000 was right.”

Councilmember Heinze stated that promotion of the local business was one of the tenants of the Community Grant process which includes economic development and sustaining Coronado-based Commerce. Councilmember Sandke was also in support of additional funding to the Chamber and suggested the grant totals to SAFE and the Chamber be re-addressed after the initial round of grants were agreed upon.

When the first round of allocations was completed and the appropriate motions were passed, a total of $22,395 remained of the $1 million budgeted for the Community Grants. New grant requestee Emerald Keepers, which is in the process of formally obtaining their non-profit status from the IRS, was awarded $7,465 on the condition their non-profit status is approved. The Chamber and SAFE each received an additional $7,465. Their total awards are reflected on the accompanying chart.

In the first 90 minutes of the meeting, the council took the following actions:

By a 5-0 vote, the Council approved the expenditure of $30,000 for additional body-worn cameras for the Coronado Police Department. Police Chief Chuck Kaye noted Coronado was the first city in San Diego County to adopt the use of the cameras and the equipment had played a tremendous role in solving and reducing customer complaints. He later added that the addition of the new cameras would provide equipment for every officer on the force and in the worst case scenario, there would be three spare cameras that could be used as backups.

The Council allocated $20,000 toward the 50th Anniversary celebration for the Coronado Cays. And at the request of Cays resident Lance Rodgers, who is helping orchestrate the celebration, the Council approved the sale of beer, wine and spirits at the event. City Manager Blair King noted that the additional of selling spirits or hard alcohol was, “Advancing down a bridge too far, which is not critical to the enjoyment of the event.” Police Chief Kaye noted the California ABC has the final say on adding the sale of spirits as part of a beer and wine garden.

The Council re-appointed Bill Gise to the Design Review Commission for a term of no more than one year by a 5-0 vote. City Manager King noted the challenge was a lack of applicants for the commission, with one of the two vacancies to be filled by a design professional.

King announced the purchase of protective ballistic gear for the fire department. Fire Chief Jim Lydon said, “The approach to responding to an active shooter has changed. In order to save lives, fire and EMS personnel can’t wait until an area is completely safe. We work in conjunction with law enforcement to locate, treat and remove patients. The police department provides force protection for fire personnel. The purchased equipment includes a soft ballistic vest, plates and helmet, which will be worn when responding to violence or potential violence.”

The Council approved a 2.75 percent salary raise for employees for FY 2019-20. This group includes non-represented, non-union and management personnel. The vote, which is required in a public session, passed 5-0.

Coronado City Council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 4 p.m., with the next session scheduled for Sept. 17. The meeting location is the City Council Chambers located at 1825 Strand Way in Coronado.

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