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City allocates community grants from ‘largest pool ever’

ENCINITAS — City Council made few changes in the staff recommendations as it unanimously appropriated funds for the city of Encinitas and Mizel Family Foundation Community Grant Program on July 8.
The city arts administrator, a representative from the city manager’s office and several members of various city commissions served on the evaluation panel. “It was the largest pool of applications I’ve ever seen,” Arts Administrator Jim Gilliam said. This year 59 applicants were vying for $108,000 in funds.
The city’s general fund contributed $54,000, with a matching grant from the Mizel Family Foundation. This year 24 representatives attended a mandatory workshop for first-time applicants.
Councilman Jerome Stocks recused himself from the proceedings citing a conflict of economic interest. Several of the applicants provided a source of income of $250 or more to Stocks, who owns an insurance agency.
Several organizations did not receive any funding. “There were so many applicants and less money than last year,” Gilliam said.
The committee tried to fund the applicants as fully as possible, Erica Buxbaum said.
Some council members questioned the criteria for receiving funding. For instance, city policy does not allow fundraisers.
Councilwoman Teresa Barth said that while several applications did not explicitly spell out the program as a fundraiser, she could identify at least a dozen that fit the technical aspects of the word. She asked whether the applications should be disqualified.
“There’s no magic bullet for this. I think it’s a judgment call for you all,” City Attorney Glen Sabine said.
Councilman Dan Dalager suggested the council override the policy in one instance if the program was found to be “really good.” Sabine said if the exception is made for one group, then it must apply across the board to all applicants.
Several groups that did not receiving funding addressed the council. Morgan Mallory, representing the Cardiff 101 Chamber of Commerce, announced the revival of the Rob Machado Surf Contest in conjunction with the Green Awareness Festival this year. As a result of the growth of activities, he said the organization is preparing to transition to a main street association. Mallory said that while the group’s budget was confusing, he asked that the council reconsider the allocation request for main street certification.
Councilman James Bond asked that the Jonathon Tarr Foundation and Classic Youth Theater be funded despite the panel’s review. “I’m not going to put a dollar amount, but I want to put them in the pot,” he said.
Barth asked that the main street certification program receive funding. “They are doing what we’ve encouraged them to do,” she said.
The San Dieguito Art Guild and the 101 Artists’ Colony also received funding.