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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Agencies ask for help from City

Monday, December 24, 2012

In preparation for the City of Storm Lake's annual budgeting workshop in February, four community agencies presented funding requests during this week's council meeting.

Between Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Centers Against Assault and Sexual Abuse, the Witter Gallery and the Buena Vista County Historical Society, a collective total of $33,100 was requested.

Although these agencies ask for funding each year, the City of Storm Lake has only funded the Witter Gallery during the last three budgeting processes.

Approximately 54 percent of the 2,182 individuals UDMO's BV County office served during its last fiscal year, ending in September 2012, were Storm Lake residents. About 64 percent of families assisted were 100 percent below federal poverty guidelines, which amounts to less than $23,050 for a family of four.

The non-profit has been serving Storm Lake and BV County for over 40 years, but according to UDMO Executive Director Jamey Whitney, the number of elderly, disabled and low-income county residents continues to rise as federal funding decreases.

"We sustained smaller cuts last year, but expect more this year," he told council members.

Federal funding in fiscal 2014 is expected to drop $10,000, and as a result, the non-profit's organizational budget is expected to have a net loss of $13,900.

While UDMO's Community Service Block Grant funds administrative costs and office space rent, money donated by counties and cities funds community outreach services such as weatherization or emergency energy assistance that aim to move families into self-sufficient lifestyles.

This year, UDMO is requesting $8,000 from the City. BV County has allocated a total of $34,000 during the last two fiscal years for the organization.

"Every dime from the city and county goes to services, and stays within the county," Whitney said.

Local funding appears to have an impact on state and federal government-issued resources. An application submitted by UDMO states every dollar given by the City of Storm Lake and BV County, the organization brings in approximately $87.51 in state and federal dollars.

CAASA has asked for $6,600 to cover rent for its Storm Lake office, which is one of its busiest.

Out of 804 new clients served at four outreach centers in 2012, 34 percent received assistance at the Storm Lake office.

CAASA Executive Director Julie Schulenberg said the organization is expecting a 30 percent funding cut next fiscal year, and has predicted a $57,000 loss in its upcoming organizational budget. For the past two years, CAASA has broken even at the end of the year.

Money contributed by BV County, $11,000 total in the past two fiscal years, has gone towards funding the cost of utilities.

Witter Gallery Board President Hannah Campbell asked council members to increase funding by $3,000 this year, to $16,000.

An increased level of support would foster a creative community while creating better quality of life for Storm Lake residents, Campbell said.

The Gallery serves about 800 children with its weekend and summer art classes, and relies on its members, Taste of Storm Lake and other special events to keep running.

But with a sizable portion of gallery members aging, Campbell said support levels are slowly decreasing.

Last fiscal year, BV County contributed $500 towards the Gallery's program budget.

BV County Historical Society President Marjorie Neulieb asked council members for $2,500 for a small kitchen remodeling project that would allow more space during fundraisers.

"Our current fundraisers are usually equal to our expenses," she said. "Unless we inherit a farm, we have to support ourselves with fundraisers and memberships."

BV County has contributed $1,800 total for the organization during the past two fiscal years.

Funding levels for the four organizations will be determined in February, while requests from transit services, CommUNITY Education and Storm Lake United are handled through a separate budgeting process.

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