|11/28/2012 11:55:00 AM|
City Council rejects Upper Valley MEND's annual funding request
The Leavenworth City Council did not look favorably on an Upper Valley MEND request for $10,000 in annual funding. The matter was discussed at the Nov. 13 study session.
Leavenworth Mayor Cheri Kelley Farivar said this is not something that had been discussed privately or in a committee meeting. She agreed with Councilman Peter DeVries the city cannot commit to an annual contribution.
"You are tying up future councils. How many other organizations are saying, if they are tax-exempt, 'well gee, you gave them $10,000. We would like to have $5,000,'" DeVries said.
Farivar said the request is something over and above and unprecedented for the council. Councilman Tibor Lak said it could also take away the opportunity for someone else to do affordable housing in a different form.
"If I come in a say, I have a lot. I can do it for low income. I am going to have 'X' amount of dollars, but I need some help," Lak said. "Your answer is you gave it away for the next five years."
If the funds are available in a particular year, Councilman Bob Francis said the money should go to MEND, if there are no other requests.
"We can tell people all the funds have been expended, so come back next year," Francis said. "We can treat this in a positive way. Just don't tie up the funds annually."
There is already a funding mechanism in place for affordable housing, Farivar said. The city receives recording fees back from the state to assist with affordable housing.
"We have already given all that money to MEND. The city council has continually given that money to MEND," she said.
Annually, City Finance Director Chantell Steiner said the city spends about $5,000 on affordable housing. It has been higher in the past, but development is down. In addition to the request for $10,000, Steiner said MEND has sent an additional letter requesting all of the funding for next year.
"I would rather have that $10,000 in reserve to make the Chumstick Trail happen or help make some of the services they are asking for," said Councilman Elmer Larsen. "That way we keep that back. I empathize. They are trying to do good. But we are continually asked to help make those things happen. Even if we give them $10,000, we are going to still have to help them make those things happen."
Councilman Michael Molohon said MEND has had issues administering their properties. He said the council has received letters.
"I think it is funny they say they help owners maintain. They are taking over the function of administering those properties like they are condominiums. It looks to me like they are trying to get money for administration. I understand most homeowners don't want to pay their fees." Molohon said.
It was agreed Farivar would write a letter to MEND rejecting their request.
Ian Dunn can be reached at 548-5286 or email@example.com.
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