The City Council has agreed to give $34,876 to the Feedback Foundation, a charity which serves meals to homebound and poor seniors.
The council voted 3 to 2 to give half of the amount immediately, while its staff works on a budget with Feedback officials so they will not have to depend on such emergency funding in the future.
The Anaheim-based Feedback Foundation had received an earlier emergency grant of $12,000 from the city for the 1990-91 fiscal year.
But Feedback Executive Director Shirley A. Cohen said that the organization relies on federal grants and donations from seniors whose financial situation can change from month to month and that,therefore, budgeting is not as easy as council members may think.
"It's very difficult to budget when you're not sure how much you're getting," she said. "It's not our fault."
The foundation has centers in 14 Orange County cities, nine of which contribute to the foundation.
Councilman Orville Amburgey voted against the grant because "they're not following their regular procedure" in asking for money at midyear. Every spring, the City Council receives and processes grant requests from social service agencies serving city residents.
Mayor Peter F. Buffa also voted against the proposal, citing an imbalance between the amount allocated to Feedback and the Costa Mesa charity Share Our Selves, which has temporarily closed while it relocates to a commercial-area building.
But Councilwoman Sandra L. Genis, who has questioned the city's funding of arts and other cultural proposals, such as the $400,000 allocation to the Festival of Britain, said the city's money would be better spent feeding the city's seniors.
Genis also suggested taking the money out of the advertising and promotions fund and said feeding seniors would serve as better advertisement for the city than "floats and flags."
Costa Mesa resident John Feeney, who also lobbied hard against city funding of the arts, particularly when the Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse presented a play last month he described as "anti-Catholic," spoke in favor of giving Feedback the grant. Feeney said it may cause city residents to consider making their own donations.
Later in the meeting, Feeney quietly slipped a check for just over $100 to Cohen.