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Organizations make funding pitches to Washington County supervisors

Four organizations made their pitch for funding to the Washington County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning.

Representatives from the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program, English River Watershed, Washington Economic Development Group and Main Street Washington requested more than $165,000 in county funding from next year’s budget.

The largest request came from HACAP.

“We’re asking for the same amount we’ve had in previous years,” HACAP Director Jane Drapeaux said.

That amount is $120,000 annually, which has been in place for more than 10 years.

Drapeaux said that HACAP served 1,930 people — 776 households — in Washington County this past year, with the average support being approximately $1,000.

HACAP provided approximately $65,000 in crisis utility assistance.

RenElla Crawford said that last year, HACAP provided $149,560 in Low Income Home Energy Assistance funds and $145,588 this year.

“That does not include food distribution in communities,” Drapeaux said, adding that HACAP distributed more than 237,000 pounds of food to various agencies around the county.

New WEDG Executive Director Mary Audia asked the board for increased funding, from $21,000 to $30,000.

“I’m asking the county to become an equal partner with the city of Washington,” Audia said.

She said that WEDG is continuing to work to enhance housing opportunities in the county, as well as attracting new businesses.

“We can increase our tax base without increasing taxes,” Audia said.

Main Street Washington Director Sarah Grunewaldt asked for a 2 percent increase in funding to $6,971 to account for a cost of living increase.

She said over the past year, Main Street Washington has partnered with as many other organizations as possible, including Public Health and the Washington Chamber of Commerce.

Grunewaldt noted that Washington saw no COVID-related business closures over the past year.

Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh, representing the English River Watershed, noted a number of projects the organization is working on with Iowa and Poweshiek counties.

He requested that funding remain the same as last year at $7,500.