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La Cañada Council divvies up the grant pie

Representatives from several local organizations came to City Hall Monday with hats in hand, asking the City Council to dedicate $288,950 of next year’s budget to key projects and programs throughout the community.

Council members have engaged in budget hearings since June 17, deliberating over how to best appropriate the city’s $11.36-million budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year. The panel plans to adopt the new budget at its July 21 meeting.

Monday’s meeting was an opportunity for community groups to ask for funding for programs with a citywide impact. Each group provided a status report on how last year’s city grants were spent and what they hoped to accomplish in the coming year.

Linda Fults, president of La Cañada Valley Beautiful, explained how the organization has helped install California native and drought-tolerant landscapes in public areas, including Palm Crest Elementary School and the La Cañada Flintridge Library.

“It’s great to work with the members of the community, but we need the city’s assistance,” Fults said in her appeal for a $10,000 city grant.

Melissa Patton, executive director of Lanterman House, asked the Council to consider a grant for $96,450 — a 3.26% increase over last year — for the continuation and maintenance of tours and collections, needed facility repairs and for the creation of an archive office and reading room.

She also helped elucidate for the Council why the city received a failing grade for historic preservation measures in March from the Los Angeles Conservancy, explaining a chief requirement for accolades is a Historic Resources Report, which the city does not have.

“They have acknowledged what has been done at Lanterman House, but they expect more than that,” Patton said of the Conservancy.

Tyler Wright, president and chief executive of Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, explained his organization’s desire to use a $15,000 city grant to further invest in “Safe Place,” a community support program for at-risk youth previously funded by the Salvation Army and the YMCA of Glendale before that.

“I believe right now in La Cañada, we’re the only Safe Place within the city, but we hope to expand,” Wright said.

Bill Pounders, president of the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn., requested $13,500 to renovate float technology, help replace $5,000 in heavy equipment stolen during a burglary in April and install an alarm system on float-building grounds.

The organization’s storage facility was burglarized in October, at a loss of $7,500 in supplies. Funds from the community in the wake of the second incident have been scarce, he explained.

“I think everybody figured generally we were not too smart not putting in an alarm system the first time,” Pounders said.

After approving the amounts requested by the nine groups, Council members thanked presenters for submitting their project lists and for their efforts to better the community.

“Every one of you is a partner and helps to make the city as great as it is,” Councilwoman Laura Olhasso said. “We couldn’t be this way without you.”


Follow Sara Cardine on Twitter: @SaraCardine.


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