This article appeared in today’s Scottsdale Republic (not online as yet), with the much more innocuous headline below.
As observed by an astute ScottsdaleTrails reader: the day after Republic editors opined that a quarter-million dollar shortfall in revenue for a city-owned golf course operated by a for-profit business was no big deal, the reporter on this story circled around a $220,000 shortfall between human services funds requested and funds approved by Mayor Jim Lane and the Scottsdale City Council.
I also note for the record that at the same city council meeting, Lane and Company approved a taxpayer subsidy of more than $4 million to a private business to ‘manage’ (and keep the profits from) our performing arts center and museum of contemporary art. I’m not sure the Republic reported on that at all.
I question the priorities of both Mayor Jim Lane and his council colleagues, and the editors of the Scottsdale Republic.
City Council approves funds to help non-profits’ programs
By Chris Cole, The Republic | azcentral.com
The Scottsdale City Council approved spending $340,000 to support 17 nonprofit agencies with a variety of human service programs. The funds were allocated last week to General Fund projects and the Scottsdale Cares program, which allows residents to donate $1 per month on their utility bills toward non-profits.
The Scottsdale Cares program will disburse $140,000 among nine agencies: the Alzheimer’s Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, Community Bridges Inc., Concerned Citizens for Community Health, Family Promise Greater Phoenix, Foothills Caring Corps Inc., Homeward Bound and Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services Inc.
The services that will be funded through those organizations include emergency housing, medical detoxification, rent assistance and after-school activities for low-income youths. An estimated 2,266 Scottsdale residents will be impacted by the programs.
The city also will allocate $200,000 from its general fund among eight other agencies: A New Leaf Inc., Chrysalis Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence, Central Arizona Shelter Services Inc., Community Legal Services Inc., Duet: Partners in Health and Aging, EMPACT Suicide Prevention Center Inc., Jewish Family and Children’s Service and UMOM New Day Centers Inc. A New Leaf Inc. will be provided funds for two programs.
The funds will provide services such as homeless shelters, legal assistance, disability services and senior counseling, to about 546 Scottsdale residents.
The general-fund projects were on the council’s consent agenda, which means they did not require a separate discussion and were approved along with other items in a single vote, at the council meeting on June 18. The consent agenda passed 7-0.
The funding for the Scottsdale Cares program was removed from the consent agenda to be voted on separately. It passed 6-0 with Council member Virginia Korte declaring a conflict of interest.
The funding is for the budget cycle starting July 1.
Applications by 30 agencies for the Scottsdale Cares program totaled nearly $560,000 but only $140,000 was available, said Michelle Albanese, Scottsdale community assistance manager.
While requests have grown, program funding has dropped more than 40 percent in five years, she said.
The most high-profile request excluded from the Scottsdale Cares program this year was made by the Tempe Community Action Agency. The agency administers home-delivered meals to seniors and disabled residents in Scottsdale and Tempe.
The agency requested $70,000 for the meals program, which has served Scottsdale residents since the 1980s.
The meal-delivery program will continue this year with the help of a 92-year old Scottsdale resident’s donation and a grant from the Industrial Development Authority of Scottsdale. The $25,000 donation and the $33,970 grant will help fund the program for the next fiscal year without money from the general fund, said Jan Cameron, Scottsdale parks, recreation and human services director.
Once, again, if we had a newspaper that would do investigative journalism , and not be content to be a restaurant and bar guide with news memos on occasion, Scottsdale residents would know that contributions to Scottsdale Cares plummeted as more and more citizens took to paying water/sewer/garbage bills online. For some reason the website will not allow payment to include donations via the stylized heart.
More perplexing in regard to the Meals On Wheels program, is why the Human Services Commission elected not fund that program at all. They had 16 requests for funding and they could fund eight. Under their tally system Meals On Wheels came in last and originally got zilch.
Accounting for grant funds is not one of Scottsdale’s long suits as can be seen on Belleview Street where Scottsdale allowed the blighting of a neighborhood, compromised CDBG funds for six years, and is now scrambling to rehab 30 year old, vacant apartments with tax dollars before the City is fined for mishandling CDBG funds.
Meals On Wheels is funded for the next fiscal year. Scottsdale has to figure out how acquire funding for years to come.