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Columbia County plugging in to available grants

DAYTON–Columbia County Public Health will receive funds from two grants, and the Friends of the Golf Course is applying for a grant to fund improvements to the Touchet Valley Golf Course, County Commissioners heard this week.

Walla Walla County Department of Community Health applied for and received a grant of $80,000 from Washington State Health Care Authority. This grant will be shared with Columbia County Public Health and will be used for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention.

Martha Lanman, Administrator for Columbia County Public Health, estimated that between $15,000 and $20,000 will be used by Columbia County Health. Columbia County will be writing a contract with Walla Walla County Department of Community Health for its portion of the grant.

Columbia County Public Health also received a three-year grant of $150,000 (to be used at $50,000 per year) from Group Health Foundation. Administrator Lanman explained that for the Group Health Foundation grant, Columbia County Public Health is a conduit for the Southeast Washington Health Partnership that benefits Columbia, Garfield and Asotin counties.

The Partnership does not have 501(c)(3) (nonprofit) status yet, so Columbia County is acting as a conduit for funds benefitting all three counties. When the Partnership receives its nonprofit status, the Group Health Foundation funds will be transferred to the Partnership.

Roundtable discussions will be held on how the funds can best be used to serve the three counties. For now, Lanman will have signature authority. The Commissioners approved the grant and Lanman’s signature authority.

Sean Thurston, representing Friends of the Golf Course, was seeking correct information to include on a grant application to the Wildhorse Foundation of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The purpose of the grant is to plan the irrigation design for the Golf Course.

Thurston presented three plans, and he explained that parts of the three plans can be integrated. Plan A is a plan to make minor changes to improve the grounds. Plan B is a more-extensive plan if enough funding is acquired to develop new areas of the golf course. Plan C would focus on maximizing the flood plain reservoir for irrigation.

County government uses federal grants and sometimes other sources to supplement its budget to accomplish needed projects. The federal government awards grants for reasons mostly centering around sharing responsibility for a given service or function to have better information about local preferences and costs; and providing incentives to spend money for programs that would benefit the jurisdiction.

Federal grants help state and local governments finance a broad range of services including health care, education, social services, infrastructure, and public safety. Other sources of grants can come from many different non-profit foundations, and government entities and agencies can receive grants from those organizations.

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