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Assembly considers nonprofits

Posted: February 12, 2014 - 11:30pm

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly heard from two nonprofits at its Tuesday night meeting.

First Linda Swarner, executive director with the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, presented information about the organization’s operations to the assembly. On its $500,000 budget, the food bank distributes about 1 million pounds of food annually.

While the food bank has 12 paid employees, it sees about 2,000 volunteers annually and most of its revenue comes in the form of donations, corporate grants and U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities.

Central Area Rural Transit System Inc., a central peninsula transportation system incorporated in 2000, is mainly funded through grant money.

Jane Stein, who serves on CARTS board of directors, spoke to the assembly after assembly member Charlie Pierce requested to remove a consent agenda item supporting CARTS transportation priorities and efforts seeking state and federal funding opportunities.

Stein said the projects CARTS is requesting funds for through the Federal Transit Administration will be used to not only maintain its current services in the central peninsula, but also to grow to serve other communities. She said organization is working to extend its services to better serve the Homer and Seward areas.

According to the resolution, CARTS is requesting $105,000 to leverage $131,800 of FTA funds for service areas, $5,644 to leverage $56,856 of FTA funds for branding and marketing, $81,081 for central peninsula Independent Living Center Transportation Voucher Program and $60,984 for the Homer program.

The list will be submitted to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

Pierce said he pulled the item from the consent agenda because with the federal government in financial trouble, he wanted the assembly to consider funding methodology and whether nonprofits should receive government funding.

Borough Mayor Mike Navarre said granting agencies require support from local governments for nonprofits to seek funding, and the assembly will get a chance to weigh in on funding non-departmentals when working on the budget for fiscal year 2015.

Assembly member Mako Haggerty said he was in favor of the resolution supporting CARTS efforts in seeking funding because nonprofits help those who need it most, and the resolution before the assembly wouldn’t cost the borough any money.

The resolution passed with Pierce casting the only vote against it.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

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