Wednesday, October 21, 2020

City Council: Major Changes Proposed for Community Grants

Coronado City Council
Coronado City Council

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For years the city council has given money to local nonprofit groups (the Community Grant program) without a set of guiding principles and rules. The practice for many years was to approve money for organizations that had received money the past year, as long as that organization did not ask for more money. Not only did these organizations not have to make a case for funding, there was little oversight on how that money was spent.

Some legacy groups not only asked for the same amount, but submitted the same budget year after year, not even what they paid SDG&E changed, Mayor Richard Bailey pointed out many times. Establishing a community grant policy has long been a goal of his and was one of his major talking points when he ran for mayor in 2016.

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This laissez-faire approach may well have seen its day. At its meeting this coming Tuesday, the council will consider reforming the community grant program and procedures.

Among the proposed changes are the establishment of specific eligibility requirements and specific activities and categories that qualify for grants. Strict reporting requirements and a clear reporting process have also been put forward.

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These reforms were developed by Bailey and City Councilman Mike Donovan. Status reports with specific guidelines were presented at the last three city council meetings, where other members of the council and the public could make suggestions. Bailey and Donovan also met with community organizations to solicit their input.

To keep the costs of these programs in line with the city’s conservative spending practices, Bailey and Donovan have also recommended capping the funding total at one million dollars or 1.75% of city budget for this fiscal year and to reduce the percentage gradually year by year, with a long-term goal of reducing it to one percent of the city’s budget. To hold the city council to the amount specified in the budget, the line for grants will be approved during the regular budget process in June, with grant applications due in July and funds awarded in August.

The council will also discuss the need to develop a climate action plan (CAP) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The plan is expected to cost between $100 and $150 thousand. A CAP is important not only because much of Coronado is near or below sea level, but because the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) demands it. The regional agency recently announced that cities will have to have a CAP in order to apply for TransNet funds. These are used to maintain city streets.

Items on the consent calendar and other issues of note include:

  • accepting the adaptive signals on Silver Strand at NAB
  • authorizing the replacement waste receptacles in the business district
  • award contract for Country Club storm line project and groundwater testing
  • golf course kitchen renovation
  • direction concerning placement of a commemorative plaque honoring Stan Searfus
  • agendize a discussion to address dockless bicycles

The council will meet at 4pm on Tuesday, March 20 at City Hall, 1825 Strand Way.

The complete agenda can be viewed from here.

 

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Gloria Tierney
A freelance writer in San Diego for more than 30 years. She has written for a number of national and international newspapers, including the Times of London, San Diego Tribune, Sierra Magazine, Reuters News Service and Patch.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@ecoronado.com
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