Ordinance to assist nonprofits tabled by Wasilla city council

The council voted 4-2 to indefinitely postpone the appropriation of $400,000 in city funds
The council voted 4-2 to postpone appropriating $400,000 of city funds indefinitely
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 5:48 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) - An ordinance that would have financially benefited nonprofits in Wasilla was tabled during the last regular city council meeting on Oct. 24.

Ordinance Serial No. 22-33 would have amended the Fiscal Year 2023 budget by appropriating $400,000 of city funds to support the Community Grant Program that was adopted Sep. 26.

In January, the council failed to pass a similar ordinance, which proposed amending the 2022 budget by appropriating $300,000 from the general fund to specifically support three nonprofits: Wasilla Area Seniors, Inc., My House Youth Center, and Vista Rose Senior Housing.

The introduction of OR 22-33 left city council members and residents divided during public testimonies. The same division was present at the city council member last week, where the council was set to vote on it.

“We are in a very challenging time right now. Inflation is in every sector,” Brenda Shelden said, board member for Wasilla Area Seniors.

“It’s making our seniors ask what has to be paid, or what will I go without — medication, food, fuel.”

However, some argue that the money could be better spent on improving infrastructure in the city, such as fixing potholes and installing new street lights.

“This is taxpayer money,” one resident stated. “This is not what we agreed to be spending money on when we agreed to give you an extra half-cent.”

Current city council member Stu Graham openly opposed the ordinance, stating that it was not the function of the government.

“The function of the government, in the case of nonprofits, is to come up with policies that are friendly to nonprofits and that benefit nonprofits,” Graham said at the meeting. “Not to provide funding to benefit individual nonprofits.”

Backers of the ordinance argued that the city should financially support local organizations that offer essential services to Wasilla residents in need.

“If you have these nonprofits that have people working at nonprofits volunteering their time, their money, their effort, their materials — that should speak volumes to the city of Wasilla,” one resident stated.

“If I had $400,000 I would absolutely make sure that money went to good hands and touched so many different nonprofits, and I think you guys have a really good opportunity to do that.”

Before the city council could vote on whether to pass OR 22-33, council members Alina Rubeo and Timothy Johnson motioned to postpone it indefinitely. That motion passed in a 6-2 vote by the council.