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Roberts forming panel to help spend county grant money

COAST CITIES — Supervisor Dave Roberts is seeking volunteers to help him allocate $500,000 he receives from the county’s Community Enhancement Program, established to stimulate tourism and the economy and improve the regional quality of life. 

Roberts asked mayors in his Third District to recommend residents to serve on a seven-member panel that will be made up of three representatives from the city of San Diego and one each from Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas and Escondido.

Panel members cannot work for or belong to an organization that recently received program funds. In Del Mar, that applied to individuals connected with the Del Mar Regional Chamber of Commerce, Del Mar Village Association and San Dieguito River Valley Joint Powers Authority, which all received funding during the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

Del Mar City Council agreed at the Feb. 19 meeting to recommend Nancy Fisher, who has lived in the city since 1956, and Shirley King, former president of Del Mar Community Connections.

Solana Beach Mayor Mike Nichols was not at the Feb. 13 meeting so his colleagues opted to submit recommendations to the city manager and make a final decision Feb. 27.

Councilman Tom Campbell said traditionally, in Solana Beach, the mayor can recommend committee appointments but he or she doesn’t have the authority to make them.

“I think that is a good policy,” Campbell said. “I would prefer that we stick with that.”

Campbell added that Nichols should have the opportunity to make recommendations. Councilwoman Lesa Heebner said Nichols had suggested Gerri Retman.

Roberts said he is forming the panel in “the interest of transparency and public participation.”

Roberts will make the final decision on panel members.

The group will meet June 17 to review and analyze applications, which are due March 1, deliberate on their merits and recommend to Roberts the organizations they feel should receive funding.

Applicants are scheduled to appear before the Board of Supervisors on June 10 and 11, with allocations announced June 25.

Each of the seven supervisors receives $500,000 annually. The program is funded by the transient occupancy tax paid by hotel guests in unincorporated areas of the county.