In an effort to promote tourism and community events, the Inyo County Board of Supervisors approved the distribution of $115,000 in grants last week to local organizations.
The county’s Grants-in-Support Program aims to promote social, cultural, recreational and performing arts organizations as well as area service agencies that contribute to the local quality of life.
Historically, the GIS program has provided financial support to the California Indian Legal Services, Child Care Connection, the Inyo Council for the Arts, Wild Iris, Laws Railroad Museum and Ombudsman.
This year, due to what county leaders call tough fiscal environment, the county saw more applicants than ever.
However, due to limited means on the part of the county, the Board of Supervisors opted to continue funding the programs it has historically helped and deny GIS funding to new applicants, recommending that the groups who did not receive money apply for the county’s Community Sponsorship Block Grants.
Those who applied for the grant and were denied included the Eastern Sierra Breast Cancer Alliance, which asked for $15,000; the Bishop Mural Society, with a request for $9,000; and Playhouse 395, which asked for more than $21,000 to give the group a paid general manager who could work to organize the group’s many plays and fundraisers.
In addition to those groups, the Big Pine Civic Club and the Death Valley Chamber of Commerce initially applied for GIS funds, then withdrew in favor of applying for the Community Sponsorship Block Grant Program.
“Due to budgetary constraints which limit the county’s ability to expand the GIS program, staff is making the difficult recommendation of not funding new applications and, instead concentrating the county’s limited funds on those agencies, providing quasi-governmental services, with which the county has an ongoing relationship,” County Administrative Officer Kevin Carunchio said in his staff report before the board approved his recommended action.
The board chose to fund Child Care Connection in the amount of $10,000; the Inyo Council for the Arts for $39,129; Laws Railroad Museum for $25,807; Ombudsman for $2,200; Wild Iris for $14,864; California Indian Legal Services for $8,000; the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center for $5,000; and the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery for $10,000.
“For times being as tight as they are, the county can take pride in its level of support of the GIS program,” Carunchio said, pointing out that the county has not reduced its GIS funding in “several years.”