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Council approves United Way funds

The city's 2009 agency funding through United Way of Clallam County was approved by the city council at its March 23 meeting.

The vote was 6-0 with Councilor Erik Erichsen abstaining, saying the Sequim Senior Activity Center met the criteria and should have been funded.

The council accepted United Way's proposal to distribute $50,000 to five health and human service agencies as follows:

_ $13,725 to the Dungeness Valley Health & Wellness Clinic to use toward operating expenses

_ $10,000 for Healthy Families to use for therapy and support of domestic violence victims

_ $7,775 for Olympic Community Action Programs for emergency and preventative oral health care, including Sequim's Head Start program

_ $7,500 for Peninsula Community Mental Health Center for the children and families outpatient clinic in Sequim and summer program for at-risk youth

_ $10,000 for Special Needs Advocacy Program for classes and programs for the developmentally disabled

_ $1,000 for United Way's 2 percent grant administration fee

Erichsen said he couldn't support the motion because the Senior Center wasn't funded although it falls under two of the criteria cited in the council's resolution - a critical need that otherwise would go unmet, and those with disabilities, infirmities or illnesses.

United Way Executive Director Jody Moss was absent but submitted a letter that stated the funding committee had a difficult time choosing only five agencies when there were 11 applications totalling $97,725.

"No more than five agencies were stipulated to be funded, with the intention this would produce a more substantial impact for the selected agencies. The committee had to make very difficult decisions in selecting only five of the 11 applicants for funding," her letter stated.

Councilor Paul McHugh said United Way chose five agencies just as it was asked to do, so the discussion of whether to fund more than five agencies should be saved for another time.

Councilor Ken Hays said they needed to have that discussion later but that he would support this motion.

Councilor Susan Lorenzen said she also thought the Senior Center should have been funded.

The city's 2009 budget included $50,000 for health and human services funding to provide assistance to the poor and infirm in Sequim.

"Infirm" includes those who are sick, disabled or alcohol or drug dependent.

"Poor" can apply to children and youth who themselves have no assets.

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