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St. Helena City Council awards $190,000 in nonprofit grants

City of St. Helena logo

City of St. Helena

The St. Helena City Council awarded $190,000 in grants to 20 local nonprofits on Tuesday, the largest amount since the city launched the grant program in 2016.

Grant requests exceeded the city’s budget for the program by $65,840, so some groups received less than they’d requested.

Applications for the 2019-2020 fiscal year were evaluated based on how the proposed programs and services aligned with the city’s mission statement and City Council goals. Each applicant received at least some city money except for the Lincoln Theater, which had requested $10,000 for St. Helena Live: Performing Arts in the Community & Schools.

This year’s awards were split between Programmatic Grants ($140,000) and Community Enrichment Grants ($50,000):

Programmatic Grants

  • Boys & Girls Club for teen center services: $30,000 ($30,000 requested)
  • Rianda House for senior center wellness and enrichment programs: $30,000 ($30,000 requested)
  • UpValley Family Centers for Community Connections Program and immigration assistance: $30,000 ($30,000 requested)
  • Our Town St. Helena for organizational development and assistance to Marietta HOA: $25,000 ($30,000 requested)
  • St. Helena Little League for uniforms and equipment: $10,000 ($10,000 requested)
  • Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) for community preparedness events: $5,300 ($9,948 requested)
  • Collabria Care for UpValley Village fee waiver program: $6,000 ($6,000 requested)
  • St. Helena Farmers’ Market for Market Match Program: $2,500 ($6,400 requested)
  • California Federation of Women for the Junior Women’s 5th Grade Spelling Bee and community Christmas family adoption: $1,200 ($1,200 requested)

Community Enrichment Grants

  • Friends of the Cameo for Arts in April 2020: $10,000 ($10,000 requested)
  • Nimbus Arts for a free community festival and event art activities: $6,000 ($10,000 requested)
  • Boys & Girls Club for Power Hour homework assistance program: $5,000 ($10,000 requested)
  • Saint Helena Community Band for yearly performances: $5,000 ($10,000 requested)
  • St. Helena Historical Society for History a la Carte project, didactic panels/storyboards and Traveling Trunks Museum: $5,000 ($10,000 requested)
  • Robert Louis Stevenson Museum for gallery and exhibition improvement project: $5,000 ($10,000 requested)
  • NapaShakes for NapaShakes On Screen in St. Helena: $4,500 ($9,500 requested)
  • St. Helena Choral Society for annual A Capella Festival: $3,000 ($7,300 requested)
  • Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) for community response table-top exercise: $2,500 ($7,389 requested)
  • Music in the Vineyards for community outreach: $2,500 ($5,103 requested)
  • St. Helena Kiwanis Foundation for scholarships: $1,500 ($3,000 requested)

Other action

  • The council gave Pizzeria Tra Vigne a $13,333 credit on its water and sewer account after the restaurant experienced a major water leak in September and October.

The restaurant had requested a credit of $20,000, the full amount of the excess water and sewer charges for the two-month period. Since St. Helena didn’t have a leak adjustment program for commercial customers, the council created one before considering the restaurant’s request.

After some discussion, the council agreed to credit the restaurant for two-thirds of the overage.

  • The council voted 3-2 to deny an appeal involving a sewer bill for a triplex on Grayson Avenue.

The property’s water bills had been incorrectly charged under single-family rates instead of multi-family. The city corrected the error last October and backbilled property owner Caroline Sjostedt Davis $3,552.68, which was the difference between the billed amount and the correct amount for the previous three years.

Davis asked the council for relief so that she wouldn’t have to pass on the extra charges to her three tenants. Instead the council upheld the backbilling with the understanding that the charges could be spread out over the next three years.

Mayor Geoff Ellsworth and Councilmembers Paul Dohring and David Knudsen voted to deny the appeal, with Knudsen noting that other customers who’d been faced with the same situation had paid the full amount. Councilmembers Anna Chouteau and Mary Koberstein voted in the minority.

  • The council approved a $50,000 contract amendment with Kosmont Companies to analyze a potential Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District, continue its analysis of the City Hall site, help with a Request For Proposals/Request For Qualifications process, and provide real estate advisory services. The amendment increases Kosmont’s contract from $75,000 to $125,000.
  • The council appointed Susan Kenward and Rebekah Weeman to the Parks & Recreation Commission.
  • Mayor Geoff Ellsworth announced a May 4 City of St. Helena Spring Cleaning Day.

Ellsworth said people could volunteer to clean up parks, paint hydrants and curbs, and work on other fix-it projects, followed by a community celebration featuring food trucks.

“If we all go out there together I think we can do a lot in one day,” Ellsworth said.

  • The council approved an ordinance creating a temporary use permit system for pop-up stores, restaurants and museums.

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