Casper City Council Approves $2.25M for Funding Nonprofits
Nonprofit organizations in Casper serve recovering addicts, the arts, athletes, children, families, those with mental health problems, young scientists and senior citizens.
Some of their needs are simple, some are complicated, and all need money.
The Casper City Council at a work session on Tuesday reviewed applications of 34 organizations that had requested a total of $5.85 million from the revenues of the Optional One-Cent Sales Tax No. 17.
Some received everything they requested, some received nothing, and most received something in between.
The Council previously had agreed to allocate $2.25 million for these community organizations, and that money will be spread out over four years.
In that agreement, the Council indicated it wished to fund organizations that supplement a city service or facility, or addresses a Council goal.
State law says public funds can only be used for:
- General government support.
- Improvements to publicly owned facilities -- the city can spend funds to make improvements to facilities that are owned by the city or by another governmental unit.
- Necessary support of the poor -- all of the benefits of the project would go to income-qualifying clients or individuals.
- Support economic development for the community.
- Promote the community.
Each organization requesting funding was supposed to complete a detailed application including the following information:
- Contact persons.
- Board members.
- Funding history.
- Organizational chart.
- How organization or program meets Council Goals or provides a service to the city.
- Geographical area and population served.
- Programs currently offered.
- Describe how any past One-Cent funding was used.
- Describe how One-Cent funding will be used.
- If grant request is more than the previous cycle's award, explain why.
- How will the program be affected if funding request is denied?
- How does the organization evaluate itself and programs for effectiveness?
- What other funding has the organization applied for?
- How will the funding be used?
- Program salary and benefits.
- Program expenditures.
- Debt detail - capital outlay.
- Revenue v. expenditure summary.
Mayor Bruce Knell voiced his displeasure at some applications that omitted their financial statements, and said if it were up to him he wouldn't consider them at all.
These are the organizations that applied for the Optional 1-Cent funding. The results of the Council's deliberations are listed below.
Knell and the other council members insisted the requests align with the goals of the Council, but sometimes they disagreed over what that alignment may mean.
Council members also brought their own experiences working with some of the organizations to better explain to skeptics what they do or their impact on the community.
Before they met Tuesday, the Council members reviewed each application and individually recommended the amount of funding for each organization.
Those figures were averaged, but Council members still needed make decisions, with a thumbs-up for approval.
The plans for some groups raised other down-the-road issues, such as what happens when a property will affect where the city dumps the snow it scrapes off the streets.
Council decided some groups were so good at fundraising, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming, that they didn't need the One-Cent Sales Tax revenue.
The Casper Baseball Club Crush asked for $700,000 to cover its two fields its uses with Astroturf, but Council members could not justify allocating nearly one-third of its available funds for one project.
The request by the Self-Help Center was unusual because, as Knell dubbed it the elephant in the room because it's in Evansville, so why should city money go there.
Vice Mayor Ray Pacheco responded that the Self-Help Center had several locations, but was able to buy a former bank in Evansville with land for a safe house, and that it serves the entire Natrona County.
These are the organizations and the they will receive:
12/24 Club -- $100,000.
Arc of Natrona County -- $30,000.
Art 321 -- $70,000.
Big Brothers Big Sisters -- $70,000.
Boys & Girls Club -- $0.
Brain Injury Advocates of Wyoming -- $50,000.
Casper Baseball Club Crush -- $0.
Casper Boxing Club -- $45,000.
Casper Climb Wyoming -- $50,000 (fully funded)
Casper Community Greenhouse Project -- $0.
Casper Family Connections -- $50,000.
Casper Housing Authority CARES -- $50,000.
Casper Legion Post 2 -- $0
Casper Soccer Club -- $50,000.
Casper Softball Association -- $25,000.
Central Wyoming Counseling Center -- $40,000.
Central Wyoming Hospice & Transitions -- $100,000.
Central Wyoming Senior Services/Senior Center -- $150,000.
Child Development Center Natrona County -- $39,000.
Community Action Partnership of Natrona County -- $52,500.
Hope House -- $40,000.
Iris Clubhouse -- $40,000.
Mercer Family Resource Center and Youth Empowerment Council (YEC) -- $100,000.
Mike Sedar BMX -- $150,000.
Natrona County Public Library -- $327,514.
Safe Ride -- $21,000).
Self-Help Center -- $141,000.
Skeet Club -- $15,000.
Special Olympics of Wyoming -- $70,000.
The Science Zone -- $100,000.
Unaccompanied Students Initiative -- $64,000.
United Way -- $19,986.
Wyoming Food for Thought -- $90,000.
Youth Crisis Center -- $100,000.