Community groups forced to deal with less

Federal grant money drops 16.4%, leaving some agencies to fight an uphill battle.

May 06, 2011|By Gretchen Meier

Three community agencies were left out Tuesday when the City Council doled out $165,000 in Community Development Block Grants to 12 groups.

Requests from the 15 public service agencies applying for the federal grants exceeded $630,000, leaving the council with tough choices after the city reduced the pool by 16.4% pending further federal cuts.

“They’re all excellent organizations,” said Councilman Dave Golonski. “This is one of the toughest things — obviously it’s compounded by the 16.4% reduction.”


This year, Burbank's share of $3.34 billion in federal grant funds dropped to $1.1 million, a reduction of around $166,000 from the previous year.

“I think they’ve cut up the pie about as well as you can,” Golonski added.

Little debate was voiced for capital projects proposed by the city, including reconstruction of East Verdugo Avenue between Glenoaks Boulevard and Kenneth Road, code enforcement, playground improvements at Burbank Community YMCA and shade structures at Washington Elementary.

The discussion named Armenian Relief Society and the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and East San Fernando Valley as recipients deserving of more or less funds based on how far each dollar goes.

Family Promise, which planned to serve 60 people for the fiscal year, was slated to receive $6,335 in federal funds, while Armenian Relief Society, which planned serve 500 people in the same period, will receive only $3,365.

“I really think they need some additional support,” Gordon said. “These people are working very hard with very little.”

Golonski, who in past years had opposed giving money to the Armenian Relief Society or other agencies that are organized around a religious or ethnic group, said he was keen on ensuring their outreach to the public went beyond their roots.

“They’re going to make it clear to everybody that you don’t have to be of Armenian descent in order to avail yourself to their services,” he said. “I’m going to be looking at that and making sure the information gets to the website and gets to the community.”

In March, the council voted to consider the Boys and Girls Club for city youth funds after the agency took on the scrapped middle after-school program. Former Mayor Anja Reinke argued to distribute the suggested $15,235 in federal block grants for the same program to other agencies on the chopping block.

“I don’t think it was considered fairly across the board,” she said.

The Burbank Coordinating Council, which provides holiday baskets and summer camp sponsorships for low-income households, was not recommended to receive a part of the funds based on “similarity to the programs” offered by other agencies.

The City Council voted 3 to 2 to approve the allocations as recommended.

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