Directors of several not-for-profit agencies in the county made the case for their 2015 budget requests during the Kosciusko County Council meeting Thursday.
Nine agencies made requests totaling $516,903 – a $61,577 increase over what they received this year – while the Bowen Center requested a $12,490 increase to $555,360.
Needs ranged from building repairs and furnace replacements for the County Historical Society – whose $19,647 request was one of only two without an increase – to a matching grant that would help purchase a new bus for Kosciusko Area Bus Service, contained in Cardinal Services’ $105,061 request.
“We need a local match (for the bus) and I’m asking for an additional $10,000 because I have to find the money somewhere, and I can’t take it out of operations – I would have to cut services,” said Cardinal Corporate Vice President Randy Hall. He noted that the state hasn’t approved a replacement purchase for their aging, high-mileage fleet until now and he had to take advantage of the opportunity.
For Home Care and Hospice, an extra $3,532 over the county’s 2014 allotment of $41,468 would go toward maintaining staffing levels and continuing to serve the elderly and disabled in their homes, said Executive Director Rick Paczowski, citing reduced reimbursements and rising costs.
“If we see another reduction, we will need to reduce our census of patients. The losses in the budget show every year and we can’t keep covering it,” he said. “The last thing I want to say to someone is ‘We can’t take you next year.’”
Animal Welfare League Director Darla McCammon said her agency is “getting to the point of no return” on medical care and food costs for the 10,000 animals they take in every year.
“We’re very proud of that number,” she said, also noting that they adopt out 70 to 120 animals a month. “We’re getting a national reputation as a place to get good, healthy animals.
She requested an $18,996 increase to $79,971, though the agency received no increase in 2013 and a slight reduction this year.
An extra $2,284 for the Beaman Home, bringing its funding to $30,000, would help the agency maintain its services to the women and children who use its crisis hotline and shelter, said Executive Director Tracie Hodson. She noted they saw 200 new victims of domestic violence last year, 54 percent of whom were kids, and in the 24 hours before the meeting had just taken in 10 adults and six kids.
“Our shelter is a three-bedroom, 13-bed facility,” she remarked. “How do we do it? Cots, cribs, couches and the floor.”