With nonprofits experiencing cuts to their budgets, all but one of the nine seeking funding for 2020 from the Kosciusko County Commissioners Tuesday asked for an increase.

The commissioners will consider the requests and put an amount for the nonprofits in their 2020 budget, which also has to be approved by the county council.

The total of all of the proposals for 2020 is $1,329,580, with about half of that coming from the Bowen Center at $660,820. The Bowen Center’s request is 4% more than the $635,212 it received in 2019.

The total of all of the proposals for 2019 was $977,618.

The largest proposed increase is from the Animal Welfare League, who did not have a representative present at Tuesday’s meeting to explain its request. The animal shelter is asking for $120,000 in 2020 for operations, an increase of 78% over the $67,301 it received in 2019. It also is requesting $250,000 for its capital fund.

The only nonprofit not seeking a request for 2020 over 2019 was the St. Joe River Basin. It is requesting $3,492, the same as it received in 2019. In 2018, the county gave it $1,000 and in 2017 gave it $454.

Matt Meersman, director for the River Basin, said Kosciusko County is one of six member counties of the basin. About 20% of the county drains to the St. Joe River.

“The state statue that created us gives us some guidance on how we go about appropriation requests, so we ask for the percent of land area from each of the counties. That percent of our basic operating budget is what our request is,” he said.

He also said financial support from the state has increased.

Jerry Black presented the budget request for the Kosciusko County Historical Society. He said KCHS had a major expense in the past year as it had to replace the furnace and air conditioning unit on the third floor. It was able to make that repair with available funds.

Membership to the Historical Society is down, as are donations, Black said.

“So we’re struggling a little bit to figure out how to twist some more arms and bring in a little more money to the organization,” he said.

It is requesting $24,000 in 2020, a 13% increase over the $21,260 it received in 2019.

Mindy Wise presented the budget request for the Kosciusko 4-H Council. It is requesting $44,347 in 2020, a 2% increase over the $43,478 it received in 2019.

She noted that enrollment in 4-H is down this year, despite an 8% increase last year.

Wise invited everyone to give their input on the 4-H program at an ice cream social at 6 p.m. July 6 at the fair. “We would like the whole community to join,” she said.

Cardinal Services CEO Randy Hall presented Cardinal’s request for 2020 of $102,921, a 3% increase over the $99,923 it received in 2019.

He said this last year it served about 4,000 people, most of those in Kosciusko County and most who face socio-economic challenges.

“So once again we are asking for support for three of the dozen programs that we provide,” he said, including HeadStart, Career Links and Kosciusko Area Bus Service.

On HeadStart, Hall said, “This last year was a really unusual for us. Just to give you a few statistics, and this has been an ongoing trend, of the 135 children, 19 of them are living with grandparents or in a foster home. That’s the most that we’ve ever seen.  Thirty-one of the 135 are receiving some sort of mental health services. Of those 31, 17 of those kids are getting those services in classrooms from a Bowen Center therapist. And nine of those children have a mental health diagnosis. All of those are the most that we’ve ever seen.”

This coming school year, 82 of those 135 have aged out of the HeadStart program. One-third of those 82 have an Individual Education Plan, which are for children that are diagnosed with a delay or disability.

“Yet, of that number, 77% of the 82 children that left this year are kindergarten-ready. So that’s what our HeadStart staff do: Work with those kids to get them ready, to overcome those delays, so when they go into kindergarten, they’ll be fine,” Hall said.

Career Links is Cardinal’s employment program to help people with some sort of disability to get a job. KABS, the public transit system, provided over 57,000 rides last year, most of which were for people going to and from work.

Home Health Care and Hospice Executive Director Glenn Hall presented his organization’s budget request of $49,200, a 7% increase over the $45,770 it received in 2019.

“We could not provide the services that we offer to Kosciusko County without your help. We provide not only home health care services, but work with Area 2 Real Services to provide homemakers and aids and skilled care nursing to keep patients at home, as long as possible, out of very expensive in-patient services, out of the nursing home, and that’s our goal,” Hall said.

He said most of the nonprofits at the commissioners meeting “realize that our United Way funding was cut for the next budget year, so that’s a challenge for us. We continue to seek other sources of funding, we’re trying to be creative with that.”

Kacey Anderson, associate director of education and outreach for the Beaman Home, presented its request of $40,000 for 2020, a 31% increase over the $30,591 it received in 2019.

The Beaman Home, which serves Kosciusko, Fulton and Marshall counties, hits its 35th year in September. The majority of the abuse victims it serves reside in Kosciusko, she said. It does have a facility for residential programs, where clients can come in for a maximum of 45 days and be provided a safe shelter, three meals a day, case management and other assistance.

Anderson said, “Utilities to keep a shelter opened 24/7/365 is not cheap and it’s not easy. And our federal and state grants have cut back either fully or almost fully on utilities, phone, internet and completely on food. They do not reimburse food, and when we are providing shelter for those in fear of their lives, housing, water, food, we still need to provide them with healthy options.”

From 2017-18, she said Beaman Home saw a 26% increase in its adult clients it served and a 17% increase in the children it served. As of this past weekend, it only had three of the 35 beds it has empty. “We are usually filled to the max,” Anderson said.

David Neff, executive director of Kosciusko County Senior Services, presented his organization’s budget request of $35,000 for 2020, a 14% increase over the $30,591 it received in 2019.

“We are asking for a slight increase. We had funding cuts just like all the nonprofits, but we do very much appreciate your support,” Neff said.

He said KCSS’s main mission is to keep seniors in their homes for as long as possible. It has three main programs: home-delivered meals, transportation and the Senior Activity Center.

The last presentation was from Kurt Carlson, president and CEO of the Bowen Center, and Matt Graham, Kosciusko County Bowen Center director.

Carlson said its budget request included salaries and free care that is given locally.

Graham talked specifically about the services Bowen Center offers to local schools and substance recovery.