Juneau Assembly members on Wednesday directed the city's Social Services Advisory Board to review and score nine social service agency grant applications that were rejected for technical reasons.
Earlier this month, the Social Services Advisory Board recommended the city use $472,000 to fund 15 local social service programs. The city received 26 applications for the money; nine were rejected because the applications weren't filled out correctly, advisory board members said.
Finance Committee Chairman Jim Powell said Wednesday the Assembly wants advisory board members to "roll up their sleeves again and look at the nine not originally considered." The grant applications should be judged on their merits, without points taken off for formatting problems, Assembly members said.
The Assembly also asked city staff and the advisory board to look for funding to cover all the applications, Powell said. The 26 grants request a total of $894,490. Powell said some the city's growing tobacco excise tax revenues, which help fund Bartlett Regional Hospital's Juneau Recovery Hospital, might be one funding source.
Eight of the nine rejected applications had longer needs statements than the one page limit specified by the advisory board. The other rejected application didn't have the director listed on its first page, as required.
Assembly member Dale Anderson said he supported a re-evaluation.
"I went through the application with a fine-tooth comb," he said. "It mentions brevity, but it doesn't say one page. ... There isn't any consequence to not stopping at the bottom of the page."
According to the grant guidelines, applicants were required to use the format provided and complete the application within the space allowed, using one side only of a sheet of 8 1/2-by-11 inch white paper, double-spaced. The application included a blank page for the needs statement, and said the summary should be clear and concise.
The application allowed agencies to attach letters of support to the statement of need, but didn't specifically say the statement should be one page.
Mayor Sally Smith, who has experience writing grants, said the agencies weren't docked for having a needs statement of more than one page during the last grant review cycle. She also expressed concern about the advisory board's recommendation to fully fund the top requests.
"I'm not sure all should be funded at the full value of the asking price," she said. "I would like to see this include some recognition of the financial accuracy because when you're applying for money, it's not just an emotional appeal."
Agencies that had applications rejected for technical reasons were Big Brothers Big Sisters, Southeast Alaska Independent Living, Shanti of Juneau, the Southeast Alaska Guidance Association, the Juneau Boys and Girls Club, REACH, the Tongass Community Counseling Center, Hospice and Home Care of Juneau, and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
The advisory board recommended the city fund the Southeast Regional Resource Center, Alaska Legal Services, Gastineau Human Services, the Glory Hole, Catholic Community Service, the Juneau Community Mediation Center, the Juneau Alliance for Mental Health, AWARE and the National Senior Services Corps.
Joanna Markell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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