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Funding Recommendations for Enumclaw Youth Center Falls Short, Says Director

In the third of four budget workshops Wednesday, the Enumclaw City Council heard recommendations from the Human Services Advisory Board on how best to distribute $41,000 among outside agencies.

There is a $55,700 funding gap between what Enumclaw Youth and Family Services (though Auburn Youth Services) has requested from the city of Enumclaw in 2013 to operate the city's youth center, and what it might actually receive.

That was a point of discussion Wednesday during the third of four city budget workshops where the spotlight was on funding for outside agencies next year.

The City Council heard recommendations from the Human Services Advisory Board on how to best dole out just over $41,000 in funding for agencies including Plateau Outreach Ministries, EYFS, KSARC (services for victims of sexual assault) and the YWCA (services for victims of domestic violence).

The board was instructed to stick with a tight budget of $42,000, which was what the city ultimately distributed in 2012, said chairperson Aaron Brenner.

Brenner expressed his frustration over the diminishing amount of money allotted for outside service agencies in general, pointing out that it's reduced by more than 1/3 since 2009. In the end, the board made the following recommendations:

  2012 Funded 2013 Amt Requested 2013 Recommended Funding Auburn Youth Services 25,000 70,000 14,300 KSARC 1000 2000 1000 POM 15,000 25,000 25,000 YWCA 1000 4000 1000

Partnership for Youth Justice also requested a 'bare minimum' of $700, said Brenner.

The large funding deficit spurred EYFS director Gary Hemminger to remind leaders about the role that the city plays in the historical operation of the youth center. The youth center is not an outside agency, he said. It was started 30 years ago by the city, which then contracted with AYR to administrate it.

A successful youth center provides safety, nutrition and education, and the Enumclaw youth center does all of this, he said. It's keeping kids off the streets and by extension saving the city costs in police, hospital and business expenses, Hemminger said.

Logistically, Enumclaw's youth center also serves as the hub of EYFS in terms of its ability to sustain its many other programs including counseling and transitional housing. When the city supports the operation of the youth center fully, EYFS has about $500,000 each year outside of city dollars to fund the other programs.

"Help us fund the youth center to keep all these other things going," he said. "All we ask for is the $70,000 which is the cost to run the youth center. ... The people that work there care for this community."

Asked by Councilmen Chance Lafleur and Jim Hogan what EYFS would have to eliminate or give up if it did receive just the recommended $14,300, Hemminger replied the amount comes up "very, very short" and doesn't even cover the salary of the recreational monitor who staffs and supervises the youth center.

While the center is open 20 hours a week currently, that level of funding could cut hours down as far as five hours a week.

EYFS was also looking for additional sources of funding outside of the city, Hemminger said.

That was largely what guided the Human Services Advisory Board in how they determined which agencies should receive what amounts, Brenner said.

Councilman Darrel Dickson noted that while POM was allotted $10,000 more than it received 2012, the board set aside $10,700 less this year than it gave to EYFS last year.

Some agencies were in better positions to pursue and receive additional funding from other sources, Brenner explained. EYFS, through AYS would be open to grant and funding opportunities from King County, while POM operated on a much more local level and would be as able to go outside the community for funding assistance.

Mary Ellen Stone, speaking for KSARC, which provides services for victims of sexual assault, and JoJo Goan, speaking for the YWCA providing services for domestic violence victims, both acknowledged that times remain difficult for cities to fund services fully and thanked the city for continuing to include their respective programs for city funding.

KSARC spent $55,000 in services in Enumclaw last year, Stone said. "To me, it's important the city continues to fund. It sends a message that this is important. ... We appreciate you keeping us in the budget at this point."

Goan added, "I think it's important to have us in the budget. We're really grateful for the support. ... We do have to scale back when funds are decreased."

Britt Nelson, executive director of POM, reported that her agency's request for $25,000 was based on data from the first three quarters of this year: more than $38,000 in housing and utility assistance has already been given out to community members in need. The contract POM has with the city of Enumclaw stipulates the funding assistance much benefit city residents, which is directly traceable through this type of direct financial help administered through a voucher system, she said.

Other Highlights:

Chamber of Commerce director Kelvin Schipper reported that more than 1,200 volunteer hours have been logged at the Visitor Center, which has been able to remain open seven days a week this summer (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends). In the winter as some volunteers will be snowbirding in warmer climate, the center will close on Sundays - hours remain the same otherwise. Outside of human services, the Chamber has requested $20,000 from the city for 2013 operation of the Visitor Center where only $10,000 has been budgeted.

Streets Funding: While city leaders work through the setting up of a transportation benefit district to create a sustainable revenue stream for street projects, $250,000 has been budgeted in 2013 from the general fund for capital projects though no specific projects have been identified. City administrator Mike Thomas pointed out that before a district is in place and money is actually generated, there might be a year-long gap. Public works director Chris Searcy posited some spotpatching work around the city or overlay treatments could be supported by that funding next year.

Wastewater Utility: The city is deferring all capital needs at this point. However King County is looking to resurface Griffin Avenue in 2014 so projects will likely need to be revisited then, said Searcy.

Did you know? Only two cities in King County still haul their own waste: Enumclaw and Skykomish (Factoid courtesy of Mike Thomas)

More Information:

Budget Workshop 1

Budget Workshop 2

View the preliminary 2013 city budget (PDF)

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