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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Commission votes to restore Guidance Center funding

  • Last week, Leavenworth County commissioners voted unanimously not to allocate funding for The Guidance Center in the county's 2015 budget.
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  • Last week, Leavenworth County commissioners voted unanimously not to allocate funding for The Guidance Center in the county's 2015 budget.
    But, commissioners reversed that decision Monday, voting to allocate $105,550 for the community mental health center.
    The vote was 2-1 with Commissioner Dennis Bixby voting against the measure.
    Commissioners conducted a series of budget hearings last week to discuss enhancement requests for the proposed 2015 budget.
    The county has contributed money in the past to The Guidance Center, which serves three counties.
    Only $40,000 of the $105,550 that was requested for the nonprofit mental health agency was considered to be an enhancement to a 2015 base budget that had been presented to commissioners.
    But, Bixby proposed not funding any of the request Thursday. He argued that the county's contribution to The Guidance Center represents about 1 percent of the nonprofit agency's $9.5 million budget. He said this was probably the least painful cut commissioners could make to the county's 2015 budget.
    Commission Chairman Bob Holland said he had changed his mind Monday because he wants to continue to partner with the mental health service.
    "They do so much for Leavenworth County residents," he said.
    Commissioner Clyde Graeber, who also changed his mind, said he had learned since last week's vote that The Guidance Center provides services to inmates in the Leavenworth County Jail.
    Bixby said he would have supported funding the $65,550 that initially had been included in the county's base budget for 2015 but not the additional $40,000 that was considered an enhancement.
    Steve Wagner, an accountant who assists the county with its budget, said the allocation for The Guidance Center will be paid for from a general fund for the county. This will not require a property tax increase, but it won't give the county too much wiggle room in the budget.
    Also Monday, commissioners reconsidered a budget request from Leavenworth County Treasurer Janice Van Parys for funding for software that would allow residents to make monthly payments for property taxes. The matter was tabled so county officials can check if there is enough money in an equipment reserve fund to pay for the software.

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