The Cassville City Council heard an update on the Cassville Community 2000 State Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF SIG) program during its regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 1.
Kati Rose, SPF SIG project director, Michelle Holen-da, SPF SIG co-project director, and Lonnie McCullough, Community 2000 chairman, presented the aldermen with information on the organization and grant program.
"The purpose of the SPF SIG program is to try to prevent underage drinking in our community and educate adults and youth about the dangers of underage drinking," said McCullough.
The Cassville Community 2000 organization received the three-year grant through the SPF SIG program around a year ago.
"Community 2000 is run by a board of people from our community," said McCul-lough. "The board includes the mayor, Mike Hayslip and Kelly Paul. You are all welcome to come to our meetings, be on our board and cast a vote."
The City of Cassville serves as the fiscal agent for Community 2000's SPF SIG grant. The Cassville City Council approved a resolution to serve as the organization's fiscal agent in September of last year.
In addition to a fiscal agent, the SPF SIG program required Cassville Community 2000 to hire a project director, who has a master's degree and administrative experience. The SPF SIG program also indicates the amount of grant funds that are to be used for the director's salary.
Last year, Cassville Community 2000 asked Rose to serve as the SPF SIG project director. After accepting the position, Rose attended in-depth training required by the program.
The SPF SIG funds are designed to be released to the local organization in several phases over the three-year period. Community 2000 must satisfy requirements prior to receiving each phase of the grant funds. In total, the organization will receive $500,000 to combat underage drinking.
During the first funding phase, Cassville Community 2000 was required to perform an in-depth assessment of the local community to determine needs, resources and readiness. As director, Rose was also required to write a strategic plan for the program.
In the second phase of the program, the organization was required to implement its planned programs and strategies. The organization also revised its strategic plan, constructed a project website and completed a community survey.
As the program became more data intensive during its second phase, the Cassville Community 2000 organization decided to hire a second administrator. Holenda was hired to serve as co-project director this year.
Holenda will be responsible for data collection and data entry of pre- and post-survey information. She will also assist in website administration and other project duties.
Over the next year, Community 2000 will apply for a drug-free community grant that could net $1 million over the next 10 years. The organization will also apply for three foundation grants.
The SPF SIG program currently funds several projects in the Cassville and Shell Knob communities.
Life Skills, Positive Action and Protect You, Protect Me programs have been implemented in the Cassville and Shell Knob school districts.
Other projects include: the "Those Who Host Lose The Most" media campaign; substance-free youth activities; billboard, radio and newspaper advertisements; distribution of window clings, safe parent pledge cards, water bottles and sports program guides; and student-led drug and alcohol resistance organizations.
At the end of the presentation, the council was invited to make comments or ask questions about the organization or SPF SIG program.
"I understand that it might look as if we moved you up or promoted you to this position," said Mayor Tracy Holle. "I want it to be clear to the community that we cannot spend this money."
"As fiscal agent for the SPF SIG program, the City of Cassville's role is to distribute the grant funds," said Rose.
Cassville Community 2000 submits a detailed budget for the SPF SIG program to the state each year. The budget must be approved before the organization spends any SPF SIG program funds. The city does not have the authority to spend the money or decide how the money is spent.
"I think another concern is about the large reimbursement check that Kati received," said Holle. "A lot of people don't realize how grant funds work."
Although Cassville Community 2000 has been active for over a decade, the organization did not have the start-up money that was needed to complete some of the requirements for the first phase of the SPF SIG program. The organization also did not have financial records required to qualify for a credit card.
During the first phase, Rose used a personal credit card to pay around $10,000 in project costs, which included printing fees and other expenses.
"In order to be reimbursed for those funds, Kati brought receipts and documentation to me," said McCullough. "I sent the information to the state for approval and then the city issued a reimbursement from the grant funds."
"We are looking at ways to finance projects without spending money and then waiting for reimbursements," said Rose.
Cassville Community 2000 is planning to apply for a foundation grant that could provide the organization with start-up monies for future expenses.
"There were a lot of things I didn't know coming on the council," said Alderman Joe Cavness. "Knowing that the organization asked Kati to write this grant and serve as the project director eases my mind.
"The number one expense of this grant is salaries and with my experience with grants at the school it is not usually that way," said Cavness. "I didn't understand how this works. It was my own stupidity. I really appreciate your presentation."
"This grant is data collection intensive," said Rose. "Plus, we decided to implement three programs and three environmental strategies where most organizations only implement one of each."
"We want to make sure we use this money as much as we can," said McCullough. "We don't just want to get by. We want to make sure the program is active and benefits the community."
Cassville Community 2000 oversees the Youth Advisory Board, which has been instrumental in lobbying for Minor in Possession by Consumption and Open House Party laws. Community 2000 and the Youth Advisory Board also helped implement a drug testing policy at the Cassville R-IV School District.
Cassville Community 2000 has around 36 adult members and 35 Youth Advisory Board members.
In other business, the Cassville City Council:
?Approved a $4,882.32 purchase order for a forensic computer through Dell.
Approved an agreement with Scott Consulting Engineers for engineering services for a new parking lot that will be located west of the Cassville City Hall.
Renewed the city's health insurance policy through the Missouri Public Employee Group. The policy includes an 11 percent premium increase.
Discussed the city's animal nuisance and vicious dog policies.
Scheduled the annual awards banquet to be held at noon on Dec. 14.