Appropriations Subcommittee Meeting on February 8, 2021

The Appropriations Subcommittee meeting was called to order at 3:10 pm on Monday, February 8, 2021. The purpose of this subcommittee is to discuss strategies for the dispersal of monies from the recent stimulus package passed by Congress. The meeting was attended by the following: Kurt Ponchak, Debbie Hietala, David Stevens, Rafaella Diershaw, Bernie Kaiserian, Jim Warth, Alan Risk and Bill Findley. Janet Chernoff attended to take notes and prepare the minutes. The meeting was held in compliance with the Sunshine Law and was open to all interested parties. Only the attendees listed above were allowed to speak.

Kurt Ponchak opened the meeting and Janet Chernoff called the roll. The group accepted the minutes of the last meeting on February 3, 2021 and the agenda. The group started by talking about the draft form provided to them by email designed to collect information on compensation. The group discussed verification of the information and what would be considered compensation. Jim Warth and Debbie Hietala felt that the program needs to wait until direction is received from the RSA. Bernie Kaiserian suggested that the group vote on whether to send the form out to the vendors. Rafaella Diershaw made motion to table the form until such time that the program receives direction from RSA. Seconded by Debbie Hietala. Passed without objection.

Bernie suggested that the group talk about income from secondary facilities. Alan Risk had provided a worksheet that calculated the loss from a vendor’s primary and deducted any income from the secondary facility from that loss. For the purposes of this calculation Alan said that some vendors had a primary facility was a Type II. Bernie feels that using a 100% of the net profit from a secondary facility may unfairly penalize a vendor and does not address the additional costs or the impact to their primary facility.

Rafaella agreed with Bernie’s concerns. Kurt expressed the opinion that vendors take on a second facility because they want the additional income. Alan Risk told the group that only one of the secondary facilities lost money and the average net profit from a secondary facility was $8000.00 for the ten month period. Jim expressed the opinion that it would be against the rule not to include the income from all facilities. Bill Findley clarified that the bill said that the monies are to offset losses less compensation. No direction has been given and the program needs to develop their own process. Currently it is unclear what funds are counted as compensation. It is not clear if monies from PPP loans should be counted.

Bernie made a motion that if income from secondary facilities are to be counted as compensation the program should only count 50% of that income. Kurt asked if the program would only consider 50% of other compensations (grants, etc.) to be consistent. Both Rafaella and Bernie think that income from secondary facilities are not the same as income from other sources. Rafaella seconded the motion. Bernie, Rafaella and David Stevens voted to approve the motion. Kurt and Debbie voted against. The motion carried three to two.

David Stevens made another motion not to include any of the income from secondary facilities. Seconded by Rafaella. Kurt clarified that the motion was not to include income from a Type II facility when it is a secondary facility. The motion passed without objection.

The group discussed the spreadsheet provided by Alan Risk and asked for an updated spreadsheet without the secondary income to be sent to all committee members. Bernie asked whether any compensation was going to be considered. Bill expressed the opinion that the law indicated that the money is to offset losses less compensation and that the program cannot decide not to consider that compensation. The program needs to wait for further direction from RSA on what is considered compensation and how it will be calculated. The group discussed other compensation and whether monies given to vendors from the DBS gifts and donation funds for inventory applied as well as money from grants from the counties. Debbie Hietala reminded the group that they need to wait for direction from RSA. Bernie feels that the program can decide not to consider monies from grants and gifts and donations. He thinks that compensation is money from fair minimum return. The Florida program decided against fair minimum return for its vendors. David Stevens made a motion to only consider compensation as directed by the RSA. Seconded by Bernie Kaiserian. Passed without objection.

Kurt Ponchak suggested that the group set up a public forum on Monday, February 15, 2021 to take comments and suggestions from vendors. He suggested a maximum of three minutes per vendor and that vendors be required to advise Janet Chernoff no later than 5pm on Friday, February 12, 2021 if they want to speak. Rafaella asked about a follow up subcommittee meeting to discuss how to portion the funds. The next subcommittee meeting with be on February 22, 2021 at 3pm.  Alan will provide an updated spreadsheet. The meeting adjourned at 4:05pm.

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