With additional funds from the city of Enumclaw, the Enumclaw Plateau Farmer’s Market will be able to allow those who receive Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to shop for fresh produce. Image courtesy Enumclaw Plateau Farmer’s Market

With additional funds from the city of Enumclaw, the Enumclaw Plateau Farmer’s Market will be able to allow those who receive Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to shop for fresh produce. Image courtesy Enumclaw Plateau Farmer’s Market

Enumclaw budget again includes variety of ‘outside agency’ funding

The Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation, Plateau Outreach Ministries, and the Enumclaw Plateau Farmers Market were some of this year’s recipients.

Among the varied efforts that go into crafting Enumclaw’s annual budget is a dedication to providing money for those who perform good work for city citizens, often those in need.

Each year, the city solicits requests from entities outside government circles. Some are channeled through the Human Services Advisory Board and all are subject to a proposed budget created by the mayor. But, in the end, all funding is contingent upon approval by the seven members of the Enumclaw City Council.

Plans for all city spending for the coming year were finalized Nov. 25, when the entire 2020 municipal budget was expected to be approved.

Between “human services” funding and allocations to “outside agencies,” the council is distributing a bit more than $119,000 for worthy causes.

Funding for human services includes $11,000 to the Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation for a program that delivers hot meals to senior citizens. That’s $1,000 more than the Foundation had requested, but $1,000 less than recommended by the HSAB.

But the biggest slice of the human services pie went to Plateau Outreach Ministries, which received $28,000 for its “rental assistance” program that helps keep local residents from being ousted from their housing. The money stems from action taken by the state Legislature early this year, combined with a more-recent vote of the Enumclaw City Council.

State lawmakers allowed jurisdictions to keep a bit of the sales tax dollars generated within the city limits, instead of sending it to Olympia. The provision is that all dollars left with cities be used for acquiring, rehabilitating, or constructing affordable housing. Another key provision – and this one applies to Enumclaw – allows cities with a population of less than 100,000 to use the new-found funds for rental assistance programs.

To satisfy state requirements, the $28,000 must go the people whose income falls below 60 percent of area median income.

The council also granted POM $4,000 to be used for utility vouchers. Those are given to local residents having trouble paying their city utility bills.

The Enumclaw Plateau Farmers Market, which wrapped up its inaugural 16-week season in October, received the second-largest award of $15,000 to boost – and improve – next year’s effort.

The market will receive $10,000 to satisfy a one-to-one funding match with the state’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. Most of the money ($7,500) will end up in the hands of low-income city residents through the established Electronic Benefits Transfer system. EBT funds can be used at the market only for “farm items” rather than prepared food or crafts. The remaining $2,500 will be used for marketing efforts, publicizing the SNAP offering.

The remaining $5,000 for the farmers market is identified for general signage and marketing.

“It was a great season,” Clark said, explaining to the city council that 2019 participation was greater than expected. Organizers started with relatively low expectations, she continued, “and we kind of blew those numbers out of the park.”

Among the highlights were an average of 22 vendors per week (with a high of 37); $7,000 collected in vendor fees; and well over 1,100 hours of volunteer labor that kept the effort afloat.

“What you guys were able to pull off was amazing,” Councilman Chance LaFleur said before offering a motion to provide the market with $15,000 for next season. The motion passed unanimously.

Other agencies receiving city funding include:

• Friends of the Library, which received $1,900 from the Lafromboise Fund, to improve programs for all ages, including the Eschuela de la Vida;

• the Green River College Business Center, given $5,000 to help boost small-business efforts in Enumclaw;

• Enumclaw Plateau Historical Society, $3,200 from the Scholtfeldt Fund to fund marketing efforts and reach out for volunteers; and

• the local Tourism Advisory Board, a total of $21,000 for a Scenic Byway welcome sign at the eastern edge of town, the Sundays On Cole program and more.

In addition, two entities were funded – getting $10,000 each – following recommendations from the Local Tourism Advisory Committee. The Enumclaw Expo Center will use its money for marketing efforts and the Visit Rainier organization was funded so it will continue promoting Enumclaw on its website.

Finally, the Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce received $10,000 to continue operating the Enumclaw Welcome Center; also, the council agreed to continue its practice of allowing the chamber to used its city-owned space free of charge.

Also getting a break on rent, though not as much, was Arts Alive! That organization received a 62.5 percent waiver ($625) for the monthly rent on its Cole Street quarters.

Some of those in line for city dollars made their case during an October budget workshop at City Hall.

Representing the Farmers Market were Liz Clark, who coordinated the summertime effort, and Lisa Smith, president of the market’s board of directors.

Meilee Anderson, the marketing coordinator with Visit Rainier, said 2019 “was another good year.” Lodging referrals continue to increase, she said, and 2020 will see a continued effort to reach out to social media influencers.

Expo Center Director René Popke said “we definitely have some great takeaways” from this year. Among those were visits by people from 31 states and three foreign countries to various events, increased attendance for the King County Fair and continued successful relationships with the Scottish Highland Games, Olympic Kennel Club dog show and Enumclaw Pro Rodeo.

The Historical Society was represented by Ray Still, chairman of the organization. The requested funds, he said, will be used for increased signage and marketing efforts, including social media. The goal is to increase awareness of the society’s museum on Pioneer Street, which shares the community’s rich and diverse history.

The Friends of the Library, represented by Rich Elfers, chairman of the Library Advisory Board, will use its $1,900 for three purposes, he said. The efforts cover all age ranges,he explained, and include Escuela de la Vida (School of Life).

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