EDMOND — Residents here will continue to receive clothing, food, counseling and reading assistance services because city council members this week agreed to give $838,500 to 15 social and community enrichment agencies for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Monday.
City leaders agreed to spend $78,000 more on the agencies during fiscal year 2013-14 than they spent in the soon-to-end 2012-13 fiscal year.
Next fiscal year's $266 million city budget, which includes about $35 million for the public safety center project, was approved on June 10.
The Hope Center, which provides basic needs like food, clothing, household items and financial assistance for rent and utilities for Edmond families, received one of the larger allocations, with $160,000.
The center provided help to more than 20,000 people and 6,300 families in 2012.
A mother from Mexico who wanted to better communicate with her children's teachers turned to Project Read, which offers free tutoring to people looking to improve their adult basic education, prepare for the GED or learn English as a second language.
Project Read will get $12,000, a $2,000 increase over what they received this year.
LibertyFest, Edmond's 13-day Fourth of July celebration, will receive $60,000, a $6,500 increase from last year.
A new allocation this year is $50,000 to supplement funding of Citylink's paratransit program, which provides free curb-to-curb service that will enable disabled residents to be picked up and driven to appointments within the city limits of Edmond on a wheelchair accessible bus.
This is the first time funding for the service has been requested because of projected federal cuts for the citywide bus services.
The system started almost five years ago and includes four local routes, one express route to and from Oklahoma City that runs 12 times a day, and the on-demand paratransit service. Ridership has increased by almost 300 percent since it started.
Next year's Citylink budget is set at more than $1.7 million.
“Our staff has been very successful in taking advantage of all available grant funding to help leverage the total program costs,” City Manager Larry Stevens said. “Part of the funding problem involves grant programs that we have relied upon are now either being targeted for elimination or having their federal allocations significantly reduced over the next couple of years.”