Leavenworth County commissioners resumed their budget meetings Tuesday, meeting with representatives of organizations that traditionally receive funding from the county.

Leavenworth County commissioners resumed their budget meetings Tuesday, meeting with representatives of organizations that traditionally receive funding from the county.

Some of the groups have requested funding increases for 2020. But County Administrator Mark Loughry said the budget that has been prepared for county commissioners to consider includes only a 1.5% cost-of-living increase in funding for these outside organizations.

The 2020 budget that has been presented to commissioners would leave the county’s total mill levy flat at 37.112 mills.

The mill levy is used in determining property taxes.

Commissioners have taken no action yet on the proposed 2020 budget. They plan to discuss the budget again when they meet today.

It is anticipated that commissioners will hold a public hearing on the budget Aug. 21. Following the hearing, commissioners will be able to vote to approve the budget.

Among the agencies requesting additional funding for 2020 is The Guidance Center.

The Guidance Center provides mental health services in Leavenworth County. The organization also provides services in Atchison and Jefferson counties.

County commissioners approved $197,906 in funding for The Guidance Center for 2019. The organization requested at total of $500,000 in funding for 2020.

Keith Rickard, executive director of The Guidance Center, said Tuesday that he knows the $500,000 request from the county is unrealistic. But he felt it was important to share with commissioners what the The Guidance Center needs.

Rickard shared some of the budgetary challenges The Guidance Center faces including issues with Medicaid. He said a majority of The Guidance Center’s funding, about 80%, comes through Medicaid reimbursement.

But he said Medicaid reimbursement rates have not increased since 2007.

Rickard said about 34% of the center’s patients are uninsured. As part of a state licensing requirement, the center has to see all patients regardless of their ability to pay for services.

The Alliance Against Family Violence also requested an increase in funding for 2020.

The Alliance, which provides services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, received $55,000 from the county in 2019. Officials requested a total of $100,000 in funding for 2020.

Jennifer Marsh, executive director of the Alliance, acknowledged this would be a significant increase.

But she said not receiving the additional funding could make the sustained operation of the organization tentative.

She said a significant amount of the organization’s funding comes from money that originates at the federal level but is administered by the state government. She said this funding is often not received in a timely manner.

“We are OK, but that is because we have reserves right now,” she said.

The Alliance Against Family Violence reopened in April after its operations had been shut down for more than a year because of financial difficulties.

Loughry suggested the county government could be a source of emergency funds for the Alliance Against Family Violence.

“We definitely could be a stopgap,” he said.

The county distributes its annual contribution into quarterly payments. Loughry suggested the county could provide emergency funding during the year and then adjust accordingly when making the next quarterly payment to the Alliance after the organization has received funds from the state.

Marsh said the Alliance also is seeking other revenue sources.

The First Judicial District CASA Association, which provides advocacy for children involved in the court system, also has requested a funding increase for 2020.

Commissioners approved $57,125 in funding for 2019. Officials with CASA have requested a total of $67,600 in funding for 2020.

Officials with the Leavenworth County Development Corporation also have requested additional funding for 2020.

The organization received $82,833 in funding from the county for 2019. LCDC officials are requesting a total of $136,934 in funding for 2020.

Steve Jack, executive director of LCDC, said the organization is requesting an increase of $3,961 for operational expenses. And LCDC officials also are seeking a $50,140 contribution for a spec building program.

LCDC’s partner organization, the Leavenworth County Port Authority, also traditionally receives funding from the county government. The funding request for the Port Authority for 2020 is $204,500, which is unchanged from 2019.

Some outside agencies are requesting no increase for 2020. And one agency, the Leavenworth County Conservation District, is requesting $10,000 less than what was approved for the current year.

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