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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | EAST COUNTY / MOORPARK

Council Allots $29,000 in Grants to 4 Groups

March 20, 1998|REGINA HONG

Favoring projects that provide basic services to the largest number of needy residents, the City Council has selected four agencies to share about $29,000 slated for public service projects next fiscal year.

The council Wednesday awarded Catholic Charities, which provides low-income Moorpark residents with food and other assistance, about $9,000. The county's Senior Nutrition Program, which provided lunches to 318 Moorpark senior citizens in the last fiscal year, will receive $9,000.

The Ventura County Library Services Agency will receive $1,000 for its adult literacy program. The council allocated the remaining $10,600 to pay for part-time staff at the Senior Center because a three-year grant that covered their wages recently expired.

"This process of allocating Community Development Block Grant money can be one of the most rewarding and most distasteful," said Mayor Pat Hunter, lamenting the difficulty of the process when there are more proposals than money available.

The city received 15 proposals asking for a total of $89,000. "I only wish one of these years we have the same amount of money to give as we are asked for," Councilman John Wozniak said.

Councilman Bernardo Perez was unsuccessful in getting his colleagues to support funds for the Channel Counties Legal Services Assn. It annually provides about 50 low-income Moorpark residents with legal services, such as helping one family rent an apartment after a landlord refused to accept a federal housing subsidy.

But Councilman Chris Evans said the city's limited budget should not be spent providing low-cost legal help when similar assistance is available elsewhere.

"What do we do, take food away to give them an attorney?" Evans asked during the meeting.

Although the city's Budget and Finance Committee did not recommend funds for the literacy program, Councilwoman Debbie Teasley persuaded the council to support it by arguing that finding a job required literacy.

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