Where will that come from? (The police department probably wouldn’t notice that in their $64M budget and they would probably benefit the most. The Community Development Division and CDBG offices get 1/8th of that at $8.4M)
So, I tried to follow the neighborhood funding process but nearly every time it appeared on the agendas there were no attachments and when the report finally came out this summer I was busy. (I scanned it to write this post) It had three ways to evaluate the funding to make it more fair and if they don’t redistribute the funds, it will cost $325,000 to get the other neighborhood centers funded at the same level as the Boys and Girl’s Clubs and other more well funded Centers. The Mayor’s office says a redistribution of funds will not occur but they may add funding to equalize the funding. The mayors explanation is below.
Neighborhood centers have always been treated differently than the other nonprofits and it seems they get studied every 5 – 10 years. They already get 40% of the funding the city has for human services. Unlike other organizations, they get core support instead of just programming support, and of course they get help with their buildings, where other nonprofits mostly do not. They used to be under one umbrella and then they were broken apart and some fared better than others, like the other nonprofits. Unfortunately, most nonprofits funding is frozen in time and we get minor increases some years, other years we don’t. When the economy tanked and there was not an increase in the Consumer Price Index, we got no increased funding despite the growing poverty rate and needs in the community. And since we apply for funding every other year, sometimes in the off years we don’t get increases. The mayor has FCI (Forward Community Investments) doing a study of the funding and a report should be out in 2015. I don’t think there are going to be surprises for those of us running nonprofits in this community that are considered parasites by most elected officials instead of partners in the community. We need more money, the needs are immense and the funding is stagnant. You think the rest of us could get a $325,000 increase in funding, or would that number be more like $3M, if we were all supported at the same level as neighborhood centers? It would probably be hard to come up with a number because it would be hard to compare a youth program to a senior program, to the Rape Crisis Center or a day care program to the Tenant Resource Center or a jobs program. But the number would be good and it would be good if everyone else could get an increase like the neighborhood centers.
Anyways, here’s what the mayor’s office had to say in response to the concerns of the Boys and Girls Clubs.
Good Morning Center Directors,
It has been brought to the attention of the Mayor’s Office that our Community Development Division presented an overview of their budget recommendations for center funding to the Community Services Committee last Wednesday night. Since then, the Mayor’s Office has received a lot of concerned feedback and heard reservations from interested stakeholders objecting to what appears to be the “Cost Allocation Model” that redistributes funds among centers with questionable rationale supporting it. Therefore, it has become apparent that there is a need to clarify the Mayor’s goals and intentions regarding the funding of neighborhood centers.
The Mayor has been consistent in his support of neighborhood centers and has consistently held neighborhood center funding harmless, maintaining funding levels in each of the budgets he has submitted since returning to office in May of 2011. He has not wavered in that commitment. Regardless of what recommendations may have been submitted by CDD, the Mayor’s intention is not to follow any recommendations that reduces or has a punitive reallocation effects for any of the centers. In other words, the Mayor has no intention of pursuing an allocation strategy that benefits one group of centers at the expense of another.
In CDD’s recommendation, It is clear that adopting a cost-based allocation model would require additional funds, if it is to be done in a manner that protects centers from loss of funds. As modeled in the Center Study Report, that cost was projected to be $325,000. A subsequent update put the figure at $342,000.
To be very clear:
No center funding allocation model will be considered that cuts funding to any neighborhood centers at their current funding levels. That would be contrary to the expressed city goal of increased investment in community infrastructure and support systems. The Mayor also recognizes that the three allocation models discussed in the neighborhood center study report have serious shortcomings, and therefore are not planning on following any of them, since they all recommend funding redistribution and reductions in the actual report.
The Mayor’s goal is to hold all neighborhood centers harmless (read: not cut funding from any center) in terms of funding allocation.
Again, it is not the Mayor’s intention to redistribute funds from one community center to another. As discussed below, CDD is working with a third party group to help inform them on how to develop a funding model that makes better sense, and will absolutely consider other perspectives as they move forward.
CDD currently has a project in process that is examining how the city partners with our community nonprofits, that was awarded through an RFP process. One of the expected deliverables is that the city will receive recommendations to inform us on how to improve our funding processes. Our intention is not to consider any changes to our funding levels with neighborhood centers until we have received those recommendations. We expect to receive those recommendations sometime in 2015.
Astra Miriaku Iheukumere
Assistant to the Mayor
City of Madison Mayor’s Office
Interesting times ahead, I’m sure! Wish we had a guarantee our funding wouldn’t be cut! (Then again, I’m not sure this is entirely up to the mayor to promise, the council does still vote and very few of them have much love for the mayor and its an election year so nearly anything could happen . . .)
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