05.20.10

County looking at social service cuts

Posted in Commissioners Court, County Judge, The Budget, Williamson County at 11:29 am by wcnews

It always a little sad how programs for the least among us - in this case children, the mentally ill, and the elderly - are always the first mentioned to be on the chopping block, Wilco studies $300,000 in social service funding.

The agencies in question - providing everything from mental health services to meals for senior citizens - all have county government contracts up for renewal, Pct. 1 Commissioner Valerie Covey of Georgetown and county budget officer Ashlie Koenig said.

Koenig said representatives from the agencies are encouraged to attend the May 25 commissioners court meeting, in order to provide input and answer questions.

She said contracts for the current year are all one year in length and involve the commitment of $287,000 in taxpayer dollars. A total of $309,000 - representing a $22,000 increase (7.6 percent) - has been requested for next year.

“It’s a policy [decision],” Covey said of the proposed contract renewals. “What do we need to be doing? What are we required to do? What direction are we going in?”

County Judge Dan Gattis predicted the funding proposals will spark discussion and debate among commissioners.

“It’s one more thing in a tight budget year,” Gattis said. “That will be the whole discussion. These are things we generally have to do one way or the other. Either we support these agencies… or it [the cost] falls back on us anyway.”

Covey, who isn’t up for reelection this year, appears to be carrying the hatchet for the commissioners court. Gattis is right, much of this will have to paid for one way or another, and if we can’t fully fund “Meals on Wheels” in Williamson County we should be ashamed of ourselves. Click the link above for the complete list of programs being looked at for cuts.

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