Grant requests: County council considering full disclosure for proof of need

GEORGETOWN – Eligible non-profits may have to disclose more information regarding need when requesting councilmatic grant funding from Sussex County.

County Councilman Rob Arlett, R-Frankford, has proposed that applicants provide proof of need through a “full disclosure” process that he recently instituted for requests specific to District 5, the councilmatic district he represents.

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ROB ARLETT

“Is there really a real, true financial need here? I think that is relevant information,” said Mr. Arlett while council addressed several grant requests at the Feb. 9 meeting.

Councilmatic accounts for fiscal year 2016 are $35,000 per council member, earmarked for non-profit groups and entities.

The disclosure form which was formulated by Sussex County Finance Director Gina Jennings at Mr. Arlett’s request is now being presented in all requests from District 5, Mr. Arlett said.

“I just want to make it be known that through the process of the grant application, I have requested that the applicant fill out the disclosure of the need,” said Mr. Arlett. “I believe that this is the first time that this has been part of the packet. It’s something new. Our concerns sometimes are: Do they really have a need or not?”

“I would just encourage the other council members to consider using an application like this to provide more information as we make these decisions,” Mr. Arlett said.

Ms. Jennings said “the application covers a lot of questions that usually you (council) will ask of me. So it is very helpful for me to be able to gather that information up front, so that I am prepared for the questions.”

County councilman George Cole, R-Ocean View, likes Mr. Arlett’s idea.

“I think it is something that we ought to address,” said Mr. Cole, noting it would provide better transparency and would save staff time.

Mr. Cole suggested that County Administrator Todd Lawson put the disclosure form topic on a future council agenda and solicit staff recommendations “to see if it is something that we should be doing.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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