Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | May 25, 2018

Riverside grantis approved despite delay

By Xiomara Levsen | Jun 23, 2017


The Washington County Riverboat Foundation approved a municipal grant application at its meeting Wednesday evening but not before learning there was an error in this process.

Board member Mike Driscoll, who is also the treasurer, told the board there was a little oversight at the meeting in May when they awarded municipal grants to all of the cities in the county. The new process asks the cities to submit grant applications to the board for the municipal funds.

“And we hadn’t received one from the City of Riverside,” Driscoll added, “so at that last meeting when we voted to approve all the municipal grants we did not approve the City of Riverside’s municipal grant.”

This was noticed prior to the spring grant giveaway and the City of Riverside submitted the paperwork to the board for review. The city plans to use the money for its streetscape project.

“This was a new process,” Driscoll said. “We had dates. It’s a good project. I don’t think we should necessarily punish based on missing the deadline but that’s not for me to decide – that’s for the board to decide. I think they have good intentions for the funds. We on the board and committee in the future need to keep our eye on deadlines and dates. We just missed it.”

Driscoll told the other board members they needed to decide whether or not to approve Riverside’s municipal grant request. Driscoll made the motion to approve that request since he was the chair of that committee.

“So how [far] past the deadline was it?” board member Dr. Mike Jorgensen asked.

“Well, it was a good month or two,” WCRF executive assistant Jim Logan replied.

The deadline the Riverboat Foundation gave the cities for their municipal grant applications was to give them enough time to submit their budget to the state of Iowa, Logan added.

“Which is what they asked for,” board member John Conway said.

“Well, Riverside didn’t,” Logan answered.

Logan said he didn’t notice the mistake until the committee started to review the municipal grant applications.

“I made it real clear that at the last meeting we presented them with a big check but that no way meant we were going to do it until we had the formal application,” he added.

Jorgensen asked Logan if there was anything in the Riverboat Foundation’s bylaws to cover a situation like this. Logan replied no and added this was the first time the board had a problem like this.

“They were how far past due, though?” board member Michele Blum asked Logan.

Logan said he couldn’t remember but said it was after March 15. Logan also said he contacted the city the first part of May.

“But when we met with the municipality communities we didn’t really have a deadline at that time,” board member Cathy Rich said. “They brought us this deadline. From my understanding that everything’s been done on this board a lot of things have been revised and requirements have been held down a little tighter.”

She said this was the first time the board had the cities apply for funding from the board and suggested they be lenient for Riverside but in the future follow the deadlines exactly.

“If we don’t approve it here, are we able to give it to them in addition to the next time?” Jorgensen asked.

“You mean next year?” Logan asked.

In other words, set that amount aside and give it to them at the next municipal grant giveaway, Jorgensen said.

“The only problem that we run into with [keeping] money year to year is we are required by the state to give away 90-some percent of our money,” Driscoll said. “We usually have ways to finagle this. This number probably isn’t big enough that would cause us a problem, but if you have a bunch of those ….”

Logan said if they did, that it would be $90,000 that wouldn’t be processed.

“I find it hard to believe that the rest of them could get it done but they couldn’t,” Blum said.

The March 15 deadline was so the cities could submit that money in their budget to the state, Logan said. The board never set the deadline of that date themselves.

Board member John Conway said the board needed to be responsible when setting deadlines. Blum agreed with him.

“I think they need to understand a deadline is a deadline,” Blum added.

Driscoll agreed with Conway and Blum. This was the first time they requested grant applications from the cities and the committee didn’t doubl-check to see if they had applications from all the cities.

Board president Dave Mitchell said he could see the board speaking with all the cities this fall to see what they could adjust with the municipal grant process and if this deadline worked for them.

The board approved Riverside’s municipal grant unanimously.

The next board meeting will be held at 6 p.m., at the Riverside casino July 19, for the 2017 mini-grant presentation.

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