Orange Grove Misses Funding Deadline; City Council Won't Grant Exception

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Despite a plea from Orange Grove Center for a second chance, a majority of the City Council said Tuesday that a deadline for applying for annual funding will not be extended.

Orange Grove officials said the agency had planned to seek $32,000 from the city, which officials said is crucial to the group that is celebrating its 60th year of service to those with developmental disabilities.

The notice about an earlier deadline this year got to Orange Grove, but due to a problem in the office it was not turned in by the deadline, officials said.

Councilman Peter Murphy had sought to set up an appeals process to handle such situations, but council members were not interested.

Councilwoman Carol Berz, who oversees the finance committee, said, "I don't think we can come up with an appeals process after the fact. That seems a little bass ackwards to me. It is almost class legislation for one agency."

Pam Ladd said the deadline "was very clear upfront. They should have had the proper management in place keeping an eye on this."

Councilman Jack Benson said, "I think we should stand by our deadlines, though it is a sad situation that Orange Grove is coming up short."

Deborah Scott said she supports the deadline, though she said that numerous times other groups had been allowed to file late.

On the other side, Councilman Andrae McGary said, "I don't see why we need to be so stringent on missing a deadline."

Councilman Manny Rico said the council is partly to blame for moving up the submission deadline. "We ought to give them another chance," he said.

Councilwoman Sally Robinson said, "It grieves me that we are not allowing time for an agency that is celebrating its 60th year of service."

She said when she read a headline about the agency's long decades of service, "I felt awfully small for denying them this appropriation."    

Councilman Benson said any agency can come back before the City Council later to ask for a special appropriation "if there is a compelling need."

Orange Grove has over 800 employees and serves over 700 individuals.

The council is beginning budget hearings on Feb. 5 - earlier than usual.

Some council members had wanted to wait until after the March 5 election, but the majority agreed to go ahead. 



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