2004 Social Services Program might include additional charities

June 07, 2003
Santa Paula News

Just how the city selected the three charities city utility customers can donate to on their monthly billing was discussed by the City Council at a recent meeting, and one council member asked that further detail be supplied on the charities were selected.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesJust how the city selected the three charities city utility customers can donate to on their monthly billing was discussed by the City Council at a recent meeting, and one council member asked that further detail be supplied on the charities were selected.Each year the council is asked to approve the Social Services Program which provides easy giving to Community Assistance of Santa Paula (CASP), Meals on Wheels (MOW) and the elementary school district’s Dental Program, which absorb the cost of inserting the program’s solicitation flyer annually in June’s billing. Tax deductible pledges of $2 a month and up are paid through the utility bill.The Social Services Program, founded in 1987, garnered $16,686 in 2002; CASP and the Dental Clinic received 19 percent each and MOW 62 percent. Annual pledges have run from a low $9,041 to a high $18,077.“I just have a question: why only three agencies and how were they selected,” Vice Mayor Gabino Aguirre asked at the May 19th meeting.City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said that if Aguirre “would like to see if other organizations are interested we can do that. . .”“I’m sure if I’m in the dark about this program others are as well, and others could use the money as well,” said Aguirre, who asked that Bobkiewicz look into the program history and “funding allocation, perhaps give a chance for other organizations to step forward. I’m not opposed to any of these organizations receiving funds, but would just like to inform the community about this more fully.”
The fact that the number of participants and donations “remain constant and small, a very small percentage,” of residents, concerned Councilwoman Mary Ann Krause. New programs entering the program would “energize” new donors.“Are these programs anticipating money this year?” asked Councilman Ray Luna who suggested that this year’s program proceed and “perhaps next year we’ll open it up,” to other charities.“I’m totally in support of the process and concept,” but would like to see other organizations have an opportunity to benefit from the program, said Aguirre.“Out of about 6,000 households only 212 give,” he noted. “I think we could raise the number of households and the dollars available,” by broadening the Social Services Program. “I think it would be a good effort to make; the services these three provide have a lot of merit,” but additional charities should be explored.The full council agreed to continue the program for the coming year and asked that a report be prepared on expanding charities for next year’s Social Services Program pledge drive.



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