by Richard Uhlhorn
Funding… non-profits are always looking for funding options and were in force at last Tuesday’s, August 2 City Workshop where staff and council discussed options on how to spend the Government’s $1,183,905.00 Coronovirus Fiscal Recovery Funds that are available.
City Administrator stated that the drawback to these funds is that it is Federal money that requires certain criteria and requirements recipients have to follow.
City staff was seeking guidance whether Pandemic relief fund could be used for funding City projects.
Three non-profits were also on hand to make requests for some of this funding.
Chelan Housing Trust
Rachael Goldie, executive director of the Chelan Valley Housing Trust, requested that the Council consider giving the Trust $750,000 to get water and sewer to the 9.5 acres of land they own off Anderson Road. The plan is to build 39 affordable homes for those in the mid-income levels. They also plan on selling several lots at market rates. The Trust’s total budget for this project is $23 million dollars including the installation of sewer and water lines. “It would help us further subsidize and put a lot of energy into the community,” said Goldie.
Councilmember John Olson asked if there was an opportunity for the $750,000 to be used as a revolving fund that would be paid back to the City. Goldie replied, “I wouldn’t say No right away. I don’t know how that would work.”
Tim Hollingsworth, a councilman and Trust board member remarked that he didn’t know how a late comers agreement would work with other developments.
Erin McCardle remarked that any infrastructure would be public. Hollingsworth replied that the Trust could pay a portion of the infrastructure costs.
Chelan Food Bank/Hope
Jim Baldor requested that the City consider a grant of $200,000 for development of plans including engineering, architectural consultation and drawings, permits and other soft costs towards building a second floor on their existing structure.
“Our biggest need is more space,” said Baldor. “We’ve been operating for 40 years without a home… we would like to have one.” The Food Bank is feeding between 157 and 200 people each week. “Our numbers continue to go up.” The Food Bank currently has no room for a freezer or storage. “We’ve had to turndown food,” he said.
The estimated costs of building a second floor to the current building is $2 million. Hollingsworth asked if they were applying for grants and conducting fund raisers? Olson asked what the square footage was. Baldor answered 2,926 sq. feet, and that the basement was unusable. “We have plans to make the basement usable and would end up with three floors.” Chelan Valley Hope would occupy the second floor. Olson said he would like to see some documentation between the Food Bank and Chelan Valley Hope.
Maribel Cruz, Seven Acres Foundation, requested the Council consider a $100,000 influx to fund and build an indoor play area at the Community Center that would be “free and open to the public.” The play area would be at the entrance and visible from the coffee shop.
Councilman Chris Baker asked if they had received a $3.5 million dollar gift. Cruz looked over at Raye Evans, executive director of the Seven Acres Foundaton, who nodded in the affirmative. Cruz then told the council that they had indeed received a $3.5 million dollar gift from one of their donors which is allowing the construction to continue. “Our contractor is committed to proceed,” she said.
Mayor Bob Goedde ponders the issue of giving non-profits funding when the City itself is in need of funding for a variety of projects on the books.
In addition to Federal Pandemic money, the City is considering obtaining a $2.5 million dollar loan to supplement projects on the books that includes:
- The Parks Maintenance Building… This project came in with a bid of $2.8 million which was rejected. The City will re-bid the project in the future in hopes that it will be lower. Parks Director Paul Horne stated that he could reduce the costs of construction by about a half million by cutting out proposed parking spaces and the possibility of cutting the public restrooms.
Hollingsworth stated that the restrooms were a big part of the infrastructure. Sheri Dietrict replied that it was all a level of importance to the park. Mayor Goedde reminded the Council that they had turned down a bid of $600,000. Councilman Servando Robledo stated that waiting might cost more than the estimated $2.5 million.
- Lakeside Trail Project… The Lakeside Trail Grant will be awarded or not by the State through a competitive process. At some point, the City will need to commit to grant match funding to remain competitive in the process. This is similar to the recently awarded Lakeside Park Improvements grant. Public Works Director Jake Youngren said it was a large ask. “It’s a significant amount of money.”
- Airport Waterline Extension… the Airport Waterline Extension cost share amount is contingent upon contributions from the Port District and County (still under discussion), as well as the State grant which has been awarded.
In addition to these projects, the City is looking at building a new Skate Park, renovating the Golf Course and replacing the HVAC system at the Library.
Heritage Heights (HH) is requesting financial support to fund the facilities remodel and conversion project. They were awarded $1 million from the Washington State Department of Commerce through a behavioral health facilities grant to remodel and convert 11 of their 30 assisted living units to memory care. Chelan County Commissioners awarded HH $250,000 through SHB 1406 and HH is asking the City to commit $50,000 from the same funding source.
With all of that being said, if the consensus of City Council is that the projects are all in the best interest of the City, staff will need to incorporate the Financial aspects into development of the 2023-2026 CIP and 2023 Budget.
The funding requests will become a part of the City’s 2023 budget and won’t be announced until the budget is finalized.