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City support small slice of agency budgets

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz wants to sharply cut support for 15 private agencies the Mental Health Board has recommended for funding — a move the board’s members are resisting.

Here’s some background on the grant program.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz wants to sharply cut support for 15 private agencies the Mental Health Board has recommended for funding — a move the board’s members are resisting.

Here’s some background on the grant program.

The Mental Health Board has proposed giving $841,500 to the agencies for a variety of programs that overall cost more than $12 million. The amount is just a shade under the $844,000 the city provided last year.

It would make the average city contribution to the programs just under 7 percent of their total funding of over $12 million.

Bobkiewicz has proposed cutting the city support by $200,000 — that would leave it at bit more than 5 percent of the total funds for those programs.

The agencies get the rest of their money from a variety of sources including state and federal grants, charges to clients and private fundraising.

Proportionately the proposed cut, at 24 percent is steeper than what’s being trimmed from city departments — only cuts to libraries and the health department are in the same ballpark. But the reduction is less than the 45 percent funding reduction the manager has proposed for the non-profit Evanston Community Media Center.

The programs offer a wide array of different services.

Several provide day care for infants and pre-school children or provide help for teenage mothers and their youngsters.

Others help the homeless, people with housing problems because of mental illness, or provide psychiatric treatment.

Still others provide legal counseling for the indigent, or provide services for the mentally or physically handicapped.

And one program targets young people with drug problems, while another provides assistance to senior citizens.

The agencies run the gamut from small locally based operations with total annual budgets of $2 million or less, to some much larger, regional agencies with total budgets well over $10 million.

IRS 990 tax returns show that some of them pay their top executives well under $100,000 a year, while in one case an agency’s top executive is shown to make over $400,000 annually.

Combined, the 15 agencies had total revenue — not just for the selected programs that the city helps fund — in FY 2007-08 of $93 million — slightly more than the city’s total general fund budget.

Related links

City collection of IRS 990 forms from funded agencies

Mental Health Board funding request report

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