Friday, July 1, 2022

Williamsburg City Council Receives Funding Applications and Recommendations for FY23

The City of Williamsburg City Council heard presentations regarding funding for Fiscal Year 2023 during its March 7, 2022 work session (WYDaily/Ben Mackin)

WILLIAMSBURG — The City of Williamsburg City Council held its monthly work session on March 7 where the council members listened to presentations on funding applications and recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23).

There were two presentations on the agenda, with the first presented by the Williamsburg Area Arts Commission Chair Patricia Rublein.

“Over the past year, the community has enjoyed a lot of different types of entertainment,” said Rublein as she discussed how the arts commission has adapted in pandemic times. “We had community opera outdoors, we had opera in a parking garage, and art galleries were constructed outdoors, and as we know virtual performance has become the norm.”

Rublein says that the Arts Commission has also sponsored public forums designed to provide technical assistance for its grantees. These forums have been offered in the spring and the fall with the most recent forum taking place in last October called, “Shaking the Money Tree: Grants how to Get ‘Em.”

“This provided some very practical advice and gave specific sources of funding to groups who would not know how to search for them otherwise,” Rublein said in her presentation to the Williamsburg City Council.

As for commission funding, Rublein said that the Williamsburg Area Arts Commission has 25 current grantees, and applications for next year have increased to 32.

“It’s exciting to see new organizations on this list. Recognizing the good that the arts commission can do in our area,” said Council Member Caleb T. Rogers. “I’m familiar with a lot of these as well and it would be good to have some of them return to a more normal venue. Such as an opera not in a parking garage. I applaud you all for being able to traverse this strange landscape we’ve been in the past few years anyway.”

The organizations that have requested funding for FY23 are as follows:

The Arts Commission receives equal funding from both the City of Williamsburg and James City County. Funding for the Commission includes a grant from the Virginia Commission For the Arts for each community.

The second presentation was on Outside Agency FY23 Funding Applications.

The Social Services Advisory Board reviews partner agency grant applications to assist the Williamsburg City Council in supporting human services programs for the benefit of residents. For FY23, fifteen organizations were assessed for grant funding.

Director of Human Services DeAnna Valentine and Social Services Advisory Board Chair John Morgan presented the FY23 grant requests in addition to the Board’s recommendations for funding.

During her portion of the presentation, Valentine mentioned that the Board has made its recommendations based on five key considerations:

  1. Does the agency provide both necessary and direct services to city residents?
  2. Are the services non-duplicative and cost effective to city residents?
  3. Are the services that are provided by the partner agency prompt, accessible, and affordable with no resident denied due to an inability to pay?
  4. Does the agency work closely and network with the city’s human services staff and other agencies so not to cause duplication or fragmentation of services?
  5. Is the amount of funding that the city provides proportionate to the amount of neighboring localities provide, relative to the percentage of citizens served by the city and other localities?

“We’re looking closely at the number of city residents served by each program. That was a key component in the recommendations this year,” Valentine said.

During his portion of the presentation, Morgan said, “It’s been almost exactly two years since the COVID-19 Pandemic impacted all of our lives and during that time there’s been an increased need for the local residents to receive assistance for necessary housing, for food and security, mental health counseling, and for transportation and services for the elderly.”

Currently, there are fourteen organizations, including the newly-added Vacant Street Youth and Family Services, that are seeking funding for FY23.

Eight out of 14 of the applications have sought an increase in funding for FY23.

“While the board realizes that it’s been several years since some agencies received increases in funding, it also understands that current budget constraints will not support across the board increase in funding,” said Morgan. “The current recommendation is an increase in funding for Hospice House, Literacy for Life, The Arc for Greater Williamsburg, Williamsburg House of Mercy, and Old Towne Medical and Dental Center. The total in the increase in funding for these agencies is $11,789.”

The board also recommended that two agencies, Advancing Community Excellence and Peninsula Agency on Aging, receive minimal increases to round up the budget numbers. The total increase in funding for these two agencies totaled $220.

The organizations requesting funding for FY23 include:

Collectively, the requested amount is approximately $490,000 in funding. The recommended funding amount is $477,159, which represents a $10,009 increase from last year’s funding recommendation.

“We’re all very appreciative of the hard work that goes into this deliberation, particularly when you’re dealing with people’s lives,” said Mayor Douglas G. Pons. “We all want to do as much as possible to help folks and you obviously, you and the committee, have a vested interest, as everybody does in the community, to make sure that we’re helping those that need it the most. Through these efforts, hopefully, we get dollars into the right hands that ultimately will get to the people that need assistance.”

The list of applications in addition to all of the dollar amounts requested for funding can be found on the City Council Work Session Agenda.

The next regular City of Williamsburg City Council meeting will be held on March 10 in the Stryker Center at 2 p.m.

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