City to focus on social service spending

By Burk Krohe

City commissioners will get their third crack at the city’s 2013 budget Tuesday. The city finance department will make another presentation, but the focus of the work session will likely be the Social Service Advisory Board’s funding recommendation for “outside services.” The meeting will take place at 5 p.m.

Commissioners Wynn Butler and John Matta have advocated reducing funding for social services agencies the city has historically supported. Butler said there needs to be a “paradigm shift” toward more alternative funding mechanisms. Besides the SSAB, the Special Alcohol Funds Advisory Committee, Flint Hills Area Transportation Agency (ATA Bus), Downtown Manhattan, Inc. and Manhattan Arts Center will also make funding recommendations.

The SSAB is recommending funding for 10 agencies:  Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan, the Crisis Center, Homecare and Hospice, Kansas Legal Services, K-State Center for Child Development, Manhattan Emergency Shelter, Shepherd’s Crossing, Sunflower CASA Project and UFM.

The SSAB is recommending a total allocation of $373,600. The board is not recommending increases in funding for any of the agencies.

The Special Alcohol Funds Advisory Committee is recommending a total of $429,566 for agencies and programs that provide for and assist in drug and alcohol abuse prevention, intervention and treatment. Some of the that funding would go to agencies also supported by the SSAB including Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan, the Manhattan Emergency Shelter, Sunflower CASA Project and UFM.

ATA Bus is recommending $54,882 to support its demand response services in Manhattan. Downtown Manhattan, Inc. is recommending $45,000. Most of the funding would go toward standard operating expenses, but $5,000 would go toward offsetting the costs associated with enhancing DMI’s current design programs and expanding the design services farther into the Downtown Business Improvement District. The Manhattan Arts Center is recommending $46,000 to support youth programs, community theater and galleries

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