Revenue share process criticized at Susitna Council meeting

During last night’s  Susitna Community Council meeting, questions arose about the process of the recently made community revenue share allocations.

At issue was Marie Richter’s request on behalf of fifth and sixth grade Talkeetna Elementary School students for partial funding for their end-of-year science field trip called “Project Earth”. During the January council meeting, their proposal was tabled for the 2009 round of revenue share money, but the council asked Richter to come back to the February meeting with students to justify their request. In last night’s  meeting, eight students along with their teacher Bruce Hamler showed up and were questioned by council members about what other fundraising efforts they’ve done and what their project is all about.

Their field trip is to take place in mid-May. The project is a three-day field trip to the Matanuska and Bodenburg Butte area to study geology and glaciers.

Confusion arose when the council said that the money for the 2009 round of revenue share has been doled out already and that their project could only be considered for the next round of funding.

Councilman Scott Holcomb expressed his concern that the process has not fairly treated all applicants as no other group than the elementary school kids were asked to show up before the council and defend their request. He said that the council didn’t ask Terrence Shanigan to bring trail users to defend the trail grooming equipment request, and didn’t ask students interested in the Moose Club to show up and testify why the project is important to them.

The council agreed to hold a grant expenditure committee meeting within the next two weeks to open up the nomination process for the 2010 revenue share funds, totaling $20,200.

*** To make contributions for the fifth and sixth graders’ “Project Earth”, contact the Talkeetna Elementary School.

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