The arduous process of deciding how much money should be allocated to each of the 29 agencies funded by the United Way of Douglas County began this week with agency tours and presentations.
"This is just the start. Just wait until we get down to the end of the process," said Camille Dalager, coordinator of finance and allocations for the United Way.
Dalager made the remark Tuesday after several hours of question-and-answer sessions between agency representatives and members of the United Way allocations committee.
Members of the committee on Monday began hearing presentations from agency representatives, who are lobbying for a share of more than $900,000 the United Way expects to raise during this fall's fund drive.
The presentations, which last up to four hours a day, will continue through May 3.
THE 29-MEMBER allocations committee, which comprises United Way board members and at-large members of the community, will use the presentations and proposed agency budgets to determine allocation amounts on May 8.
"We use these hearings to see what it is that each agency is doing," said Marilyn Bittenbender, a United Way board member and 1991-92 fund drive chair.
"Each member of the committee tries to determine which agency can best spend the money and how much money each agency should receive."
Bittenbender said each member of the committee could spend more than 40 hours of volunteer time reviewing agency services and assessing budgetary needs.
"Considering that most people have jobs, the amount of time is quite considerable for members of the allocations committee," she said.
TWO PRESENTATION times for each agency are scheduled to give each member of the allocations committee an opportunity to ask questions.
Following the presentations, the allocations committee will hold an all-day allocations conference May 8.
During the conference, members will discuss the needs of each agency for about 10 minutes. Discussing all 29 agencies could take six hours, said Barb Smith, United Way executive director.
When the discussion is finished, each member of the allocations committee will cast a funding "ballot" for each agency. The ballot will contain a written allocation amount that the board member believes the agency should receive during the 1991-92 fiscal year.
The total of each board member's recommended funding ballots should match a pre-determined United Way allocation total that organizers believe could be raised during the fall campaign.
SMITH SAID the allocation amount, to be determined by Bittenbender and organizers of the 1991-92 campaign drive, would be somewhere between $900,000 and $1.3 million.
"When we decide on allocations, we're planning for money that we don't have in hand yet," Smith said.
The tentative 1991-92 funding amounts for each agency are determined by averaging board members' funding recommendations.
The funding amounts are tentative, Smith said, until the United Way meets its fund drive goal.
THE UNITED Way's fiscal year begins in November. Funding for each agency, using funds from the 1991-92 drive, will begin at the start of the fiscal year, even though the fund drive won't be completed by then, Smith said.
Adjustments in agency allocations are made if the amount raised during the fund drive is significantly different than projected.
Meanwhile, local organizations and charities that would like to be included in the 1991-92 combined federal campaign have until April 29 to submit completed applications to the United Way office.
The combined federal fund is considered the federal employees' version of the United Way. Local organizations whose applications are accepted will be listed in a federal publication. This listing then will be used by federal employees for automatic payroll deduction decisions for charity.
The major criteria a qualifying agency must meet include providing human health and welfare services, IRS tax exemption, an annual report and having an annual audit by an independent, certified accountant.
The applications may be obtained at the United Way office, 211 E. Eighth, Suite G, or by calling 843-6626.