Assembly requires member on nonprofit boards

Tourism- and public transportation-oriented nonprofits that get funding from the Kenai Peninsula Borough will have another member on their boards — an assembly representative.

A resolution quietly passed at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s Tuesday meeting added an additional oversight measure to nonprofits that receive borough funds. The resolution only includes nonprofits that cover tourism and public transportation. The Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council and the Central Area Rural Transit System were the only nonprofit grantees last year that did not have an assembly member already on their boards — the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District and Kenai Peninsula College already have assembly representatives.

Assembly member Dale Bagley, who sponsored the resolution, said the lack of representation didn’t make sense. Two members of the assembly sit on the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District board, which he said also didn’t make sense, so he introduced another resolution simultaneously to drop that membership to one and to require assembly representation on the other grantees.

“Why do we have two assembly members on (the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District board) and none on (the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council board)?” Bagley said. “We really just need one on the (Economic Development District) board.”

CARTS lost its borough and city funding in the last budget cycle, both due to state budget reductions and to dissatisfaction in the assembly and councils over the organization’s performance. CARTS, which provides public transportation services through a punch-card system, had been receiving support from the borough since 2001.

Bagley said if they ever decided to come back to the table to apply for funding, the resolution would require that the organization adapt its bylaws and include an assembly member on its board.

“We’re having a huge issue with transportation in this area right now, and basically CARTS is saying that we don’t really care what you think, and we’re not funding them, and the cities aren’t funding them, and they don’t seem to care,” Bagley said.

The Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District has had assembly members on its board who were able to communicate with the assembly about its actions and provide feedback on the organization’s development of the borough’s five-year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy plans and the annual Situations and Prospects report. Bagley, who has served on that board, said it’s a productive relationship and could contribute to the other organizations as well.

Kenai Peninsula College already has an assembly representative on the board, and the Small Business Development Council — an organization that provides guidance to entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses — does not have a local board, he said.

In CARTS’s case, the additional representation has to do with oversight of the use of funds in the most efficient way possible.

That has not always been the case in the past, he said. A representative of CARTS could not be reached for comments as of press time.

For the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council, it will provide another method for feedback and coordination with the borough. The nonprofits already submit quarterly activity reports, but having an assembly representative on the board will help the board communicate, especially when the budget is being developed, said Shanon Hamrick, executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council.

“I believe it could do nothing but help with the budget process for (the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council), with an assembly member who had intimate knowledge of the organization who can go back to the assembly and give reports,” Hamrick said.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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