A handful of Raleigh-based nonprofits will likely get some additional city funding for various projects.
Members of the Budget and Economic Development Committee Tuesday approved funding for seven organizations. The one-time funding ranges from $6,000 for a financial education program to $35,000 for an after-school program focusing on math, science and reading.
The $181,600 of approved funds comes from a portion of the federal Community Development Block Grant the city receives. While these funds are often used for larger projects, a small portion can be used for community enhancement projects.
From the 20 applications received, 14 were considered qualified for the program. Of those, seven were awarded funding.
Councilor Eugene Weeks asked if some funding could be given to programs that offer job training and placement, such as the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s culinary training program.
“Can there be a little wiggle room here?” he asked.
Community Development Director Michele Grant said if staff reallocates money, it opens up the door to other previously unfunded groups to ask for additional funding. She said staff can review the list again as funding becomes available.
Councilor Thomas Crowder said he is uncomfortable funding a wheelchair ramp for the Southeastern Wake Adult Day Center because it is up to the property owner to make his property compliant with federal laws.
The ramp will cost $28,750.
Representatives from the center said the building is already compliant with federal laws; they would like to install another ramp on the back of the building. The landlord will fund additional renovations to the space.
Committee members also approved an increase for the limited repair program, which helps low-income homeowners with repairs such as a leaky roof or plumbing or electrical issues. The loans are available in amounts up to to $5,000 and can be deferred or forgiven. The committee voted to increase the limit on those individual loans to $7,500.
Funding for the program will be increased from $200,000 to $300,000 to account for a rise in the cost of materials and number of low-income homeowners.
The full Council will vote on the grant funding at its next regular meeting.
Insurance Broker Contract Approved for Three Years
Committee members approved a three-year contract for insurance brokerage services with Willis of North Carolina after some Councilors raised questions about why the contract was not put out to bid.
Finance staff said a request for proposal was released last year. Of the responses, the only local business that responded was the company with which the city had previously contracted. The company proved to be too small to handle the city’s needs. Another respondent, Willis, was chosen for a one-year trial.
Staff had recommended that the contract be extended for five years after having a successful year with the new firm. Councilors John Odom and Thomas Crowder had expressed concerns that the contract was being automatically extended for another five years without going to bid.
Typically, the city does three-year service contracts with two one-year renewals. Staff said in one year, they didn’t expect a difference in the amount or type of businesses that would answer the request for proposals.
After some discussion, Committee members agreed to extend the contract for three years and then put the contract out for bid.