Wednesday, May 8, 2013

County to review funding requests

Organizations seek public support for services

Express Staff Writer

    Blaine County will continue hearing funding requests from outside agencies on Wednesday, including the Sustain Blaine economic development group and the Senior Connection seniors’ group in Hailey.
    County Commissioner Angenie McCleary said that county funds going to outside organizations—even if those organizations are not for profit—are all in exchange for services and are provided under contract.
    “We’re basically contracting with them to provide some kind of service that we believe will help Blaine County provide what we need to in a more efficient and effective way than offering the service on our own,” she said.
    For example, Blaine County is obligated under Idaho statute to provide grooming for snowmobile trails in exchange for a portion of the state’s snowmobile registration fees. But instead of hiring personnel and buying equipment, the county contracts with the Sawtooth Snowmobile Club.
    McCleary said the club provides snowmobile grooming for a fee that is far cheaper than what it would cost the county to groom the trails itself.
    The county has similar arrangements with the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, which provides impound services for the county, and the Hunger Coalition, which provides some non-medical indigent services.
    McCleary said the county also contracts for services it is not obligated to provide but that could benefit county residents. For example, she said, the county funds Sustain Blaine in lieu of hiring an economic development director or coordinator.
Similarly, she said, the county funds the Blaine County Drug Coalition as a way of reducing juvenile detention days.
The county will hear from the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, Defenders of Wildlife, the University of Idaho Extension Office, the Advocates, Mountain Rides, the American Lands Council, Sustain Blaine, the Blaine County Historical Museum, the Blaine County Housing Authority, the Senior Connection, the Crisis Hotline and other organizations. Hearings run from 9:20 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Kate Wutz:

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