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Supervisors adjusting community grant process

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors took the first step Tuesday toward reforming its method of granting funds to community organizations.

One a 5-0 vote, the supervisors adopted a mission statement and name for the grant funding system -- the Neighborhood Re-investment Program -- and sent a series of procedural recommendations to staff for study.

Specific guidelines for issuing grants will be brought to the supervisors for approval within 60 days.

Each supervisor controls $2 million that they can give to community organizations in their district.

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“Districts have different needs, different constituencies,’' said board President Dianne Jacob.

In her East County district, for example, recreational facilities are the top priority for such funding, she said.

District grants help make up for sales taxes that are not returned to unincorporated areas of northern and eastern San Diego County, Supervisor Bill Horn said.

Lani Lutar, executive director of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, said her organization conducted a study of 6 1/2 years of district funding, and found issues with the process, not so much with individual grants.

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“The vast majority of funds go to schools, parks, public safety and

health services,” Lutar said.

The study uncovered “inconsistent policies and procedures among the

different offices,” according to Lutar.

The changes recommended by the SDCTA include a standardized application process; a requirement that recipients be public agencies or tax-exempt nonprofits; a condition that recipients document expenditures; and for the county to receive credit for the grant instead of a supervisor.

The guidelines will make the grant system more available and clear to the public and the media, Supervisor Pam Slater-Price said.