SEASIDE There are signs that the local economy isnt bouncing back rapidly: More nonprofit agencies than ever are requesting grants from the city of Seaside, and the city itself will have to lay off at least one more employee in addition to the five it has already laid off.
The Seaside Budget Committee, composed of the seven city councilors and seven residents, heard a budget message from City Manager Mark Winstanley Monday night that described the economic challenges the city is facing.
This is a tough economy. ... Ive never seen an economy fall off the table like it did, Winstanley said.
Although the city used its reserves for the first two years to get by, we realized that that approach wasnt going to work, Winstanley said.
The city will eliminate the code enforcement officers position this year. Five other positions already have been eliminated: finance director, human resources director, police officer, police dispatcher and a public works secretary.
However, the police officers position was restored with a four-year federal grant the police department received recently, Winstanley said.
Seaside property owners will see a 3.5 percent water rate increase and a 4.5 percent sewer increase beginning July 1. As a result, the water and sewer bill for minimum usage should go up by $1.09.
With a 1.5 percent increase in the franchise fee paid by Pacific Power, customers power bills should rise by $1.50 for every $100 billed, he said.
A huge challenge facing the city is the increasing costs for personnel expenses other than salary increases. Those expenses include health insurance and unemployment insurance.
While salaries have increased 23 percent over the past seven years, other personnel expense have risen by 52 percent, Winstanley said.
Despite those concerns, however, the budget includes more funding to prepare the city for emergencies, to improve Broadway Park and to add several million dollars of improvements to the citys sewer system.
Road improvements, which were funded but delayed by bad weather, also are in the budget. The city has a backlog of paving projects, Winstanley said.
During its first budget meeting Monday night, the committee heard requests for grants from 14 representatives of nonprofit agencies. In all, the city has received 15 requests totaling $56,000. Last year, 12 agencies asked for $44,000 in donations and received a total of $31,000.
The committee will discuss the requests and could make a decision on them at its meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. Monday. The committee also will meet at 8 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall.
The agencies requesting grants were:
Womens Resource Center, $5,000: Works with local police and Providence Seaside Hospital to respond to domestic sexual assaults
Hutchens House, $5,000: Provides shelter and services for persons fleeing domestic violence. Nearly one-third of the services provided last year went to Seaside residents.
Restoration House, $5,000: Offers shelter and services for up to 15 men with either current or past alcohol and drug addictions. Sex offenders and some people with psychological issues also stay in the Seaside location. We think of this as a safety net for the community, said director Gary Terranova.
Clatsop Community Action, $5,000: Provides housing, food and energy assistance and helps to fund other agencies as well; it gave the South County Food Bank a freezer as well as $5,000 toward the pantrys new building fund. About 28 percent of the agencys clients are from Seaside.
Seaside Museum and Historical Society, $5,000: The museums west wall needs repairs and Butterfield Cottage needs a furnace. One of the museums major events, The Saltmakers Return is losing funding from the Seaside Tourism Advisory Committee.
Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District: $1,000: The funds would be divided between the districts drop-in program, which provides safe after-school activities for children on weekdays at no cost and scholarships, which, last year helped 267 people enjoy recreation and aquatic services who would not have been able to afford them.
Northwest Senior and Disability Services, $4,000: No representative attended the meeting.
CASA, $5,000: Volunteers are trained to become court-appointed special advocates for children who have suffered abuse and neglect and are in foster care. The state-mandated program receives only 6 percent of its budget from state sources. Forty volunteers are helping 100 children, but 60 children in the Clatsop County system are still without advocates.
Seaside Hall/The Little Yellow House, $3,000: Provides space for 12-step recovery meetings.
Coastal Family Health Center, $1,000: The money would help to pay for prescriptions for 133 Seaside residents who cant pay for medication. The center works to help clients with chronic illnesses obtain long-term prescription assistance.
Partners for Seniors, $2,000: Offers transportation and some personal care services to disabled persons and senior citizens. Of 59 clients last year, 38 lived in Seaside, and of the 18 volunteers, 13 were from Seaside.
Helping Hands, $5,000: Shelters and provides employment training and other services to 42 homeless men, women and children in the Seaside area.
Cannon Beach Childrens Center, $5,000: This is the first year the childrens center has sought a donation from Seaside. The center provides infant, toddler and preschool care to children from 35 families. Of those, 17 live in Seaside; 37 parents work in Seaside and nine families own their own businesses in Seaside.
Christmas basket program, requested amount not listed: Joy Cruz, who led the Christmas food basket campaign last year, asked the budget committee for enough money to pay liability insurance so she can prepare and distribute the baskets this year at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center.
South County Food Bank, $5,000: A one-time-only request to help raise money for a building to house the South County Food Bank.