The budget crisis for Working Against Violence Inc. will likely be averted a little longer after the Legal & Finance Committee voted 5-0 Wednesday for a $100,000 appropriation for the nonprofit.

WAVI faces an $80,000 budget shortfall in 2012 and a $100,000 projected shortfall in 2013. The organization assists victims of domestic and sexual violence by giving them a place to stay, food to eat and legal assistance, among other things.

The funding compensates the organization for four years of missed $25,000 payments from the city from 2005 to 2008. The city has recently changed its policy on reimbursing nonprofits like WAVI.

The full council will vote on the appropriation Monday. If approved, the money will come out of the city council's contingency fund.

"We promised and didn't deliver, and I'm asking we deliver today," Police Chief Steve Allender told the committee.

Allender raised the issue of WAVI's missed payments — he pointedly said WAVI did not complain about the money — and said the nonprofit agency provided the city services that would cost much more for city hall to provide on its own.

The police department estimated it could cost from $400,000 up to $500,000 to provide WAVI's services.

"That's really a drop in the bucket when it comes to this organization and the need for that organization in the community," Allender said.

WAVI is set to get $30,000 from the city.

Aldermen also stood behind WAVI on Wednesday.

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"This is a program that makes a significant, significant difference in the lives of many women and families," Ward 5 Alderman Ron Sasso said.

Ward 4 Alderwoman Amanda Scott, saying she was playing devil's advocate, questioned whether it is the city's role to subsidize nonprofit agencies when the city has dire infrastructure needs.

"We can raise the mill rate (property taxes). We can raise sales taxes. If you want that, let us know," Scott said.

Scott also encouraged residents to rally behind WAVI. "Let's see if we can help out one of our own that is really helping the citizens of Rapid City," she said.

Ward 3 Alderman Chad Lewis said the WAVI money would be well spent. "If it means I have to wait a couple years to fix my street, I'll do it."

Contact Aaron Orlowski at 484-7069 or aaron.orlowski@rapidcityjournal.com

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