CW adjusts bed tax grant program

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Discussions last winter over bed tax grants in Canal Winchester resulted in an overhaul of the grant application process with maximum funding now limited to $2,000 per year per organization.
Canal Winchester City Council approved the application guideline package and the new process on Oct. 6.

Applications submitted by non-profit and private organizations must be single project specific and submitted by Nov. 30. Up to three applications may be submitted annually, but not total more than $2,000 when combined.

“I would anticipate we will continue to apply for this grant as support for the Community Food Pantry and specifically, the annual campaigns that we provide for ourselves which include Pack the Pantry in June and Football for Food in September,” said Canal Winchester Human Services Administrator Penny Miller. “The annual contract funding we get from them is not really designated at all towards the food pantry, so having the opportunity for sponsorship through the bed tax grant allows us to recognize them as supporting all the work we do.”

Applications are scored by a subcommittee according to completeness, project impact, availability of other funding and the ability of the project to continue or expand in future years. Funding cannot be used for salaries, utilities, office supplies, subscription/membership fees or taxes.

If an application is incomplete or does not meet the requirements, it will not be considered and the applicant will not be notified. Funding must be used in the calendar year for which it was requested and cannot be carried over to the following year.

At a city committee meeting last Feb. 3, some non-profit groups refuted allegations they did not provide the necessary documentation for bed tax grants they received from the city in 2013. Approval was put on hold pending further information. all of the organizations involved said they followed the grant requirements as outlined in their applications and furnished all of the requested information supporting their expenditures to the city’s finance office.

Grant funding was approved on March 3, but the conflict lead to the Oct. 6 legislation and changes in the way the city administers grants, along with proposed line-item funding for the Canal Winchester Area Historical Society similar to that for Human Services.

“Mike (Ippoliti, historical society president) was concerned about losing all funding for the historical society,” said Councilwoman Bobbie Mershon. “We need to put in place a line item. Clearly the historical society does not fit in the perimeters of this (new bed tax $2,000 grant program). They need money for bills, which are prohibited by this.”

While Human Services participated in the bed tax grant program to help fund endeavors such as Football for Food, Pack the Pantry and Pizza for Food, it also received nearly $63,000 in 2013 from the city for line-item contract services, according to city officials.

“It covers costs for vehicle maintenance, the driver’s salary and fuel,” said Canal Winchester Finance Director Amanda Jackson. “There is nothing in their agreement related to building costs.”

The city turned all administration and responsibility of the Canal Winchester Senior Transportation Program over to Human Services in April 2013 and has provided funding to support the program.

“Currently the funding totals $61,256 ($15,314 per quarter),” said Miller. “Of that, $46,756 is mandated specifically to the Senior Transportation Program.  The additional $14,500 supports the administration of our Community Outreach Program.  This includes providing emergency assistance and referral support and the seasonal services we provide such as Tools for Schools and Adopt a Family. It also supports our partnership and collaboration with the city’s senior citizen programming.”

Canal Winchester City Councilman Jim Wynkoop plans to meet with the historical society to discuss its needs to establish line-item funding for the society before the council approves 2015 appropriations in November.

Canal Winchester City Councilman Steve Donahue asked if the city did not help fund the society, and the group was unable to afford operational costs, would all of the historical buildings under their administration revert back to city control? City officials answered, “yes.”

Aside from $10,000 in grant funding in 2014 from the city, the historical society generated approximately $1,500 from memberships, $4,000 from a golf outing and $2,000 in receipts from its annual Ghost Tour. It relies upon donations and grant funding from sources other than the city to operate the Queen of the Line train depot, O.P Chaney elevator, Prentiss School and National Barber Museum.

“The Barber Museum alone is approximately $700 a month for rent, utilities and insurance just to keep the doors open,” said Ippoliti. “Then there are still three other buildings. That’s why we need help from the city.”

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