Jackson County legislators are set to vote today on $3.77 million for local agencies that provide services ranging from prenatal care to meals for seniors.
The Legislature meets at 9 a.m. on the second floor of the Downtown Courthouse, 415 E. 12th St. The agenda is brief: the outside agency funding and possibly overriding a handful of recent vetoes by County Executive Frank White Jr. regarding spending and organizational issues, including the elimination of the positions of some of White’s top staff.
White had proposed $3.43 million for outside agencies in his $314.81 million 2018 budget, a decrease from $3.56 million this year. The budget takes effect Monday. But legislators favor more for those agencies and are set to vote not on a decrease but an increase of 4.9 percent.
The $3.77 million goes to 56 agencies. Most are getting the same as they got in 2017, though many had requested more. A handful of new agencies are getting funding, and none who got money this year were zeroed out.
One example: The NorthWest Communities Development Corporation, which has meals and other services for seniors in the Fairmount neighborhood of Independence, is getting $60,000, the same as in 2017 but less than the $86,197 it requested.
The agencies that come to the county for money describe a wide range of needs: food, clothing and medical care from preventive services to chronic disease; basic hygiene products not covered by food stamps, including diapers; teenagers living on their own; even money so low-income kids can take a field trip to Union Station. Total requests from more than 60 agencies for 2018 were $6.23 million.
Nearly half of the $3.77 million set for approval goes to half a dozen groups mostly focused on health care, such as Swope Health Services ($254,188), which has facilities across the metro area including a clinic in western Independence. Services include preventing low birth weights, pharmacy services for the homeless, and addressing chronic diseases. Other agencies with a health care focus: the Kansas City Care Clinic ($200,000) and the Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center just east of downtown Kansas City ($479,488).
Other six-figure allocations are $258,000 for the University of Missouri Extension Council, $358,000 for United Inner City Services, and $230,000 for the Great Plains SPCA, which operates the Regional Animal Shelter in Independence. (Both the county and city of Independence this month renewed the Great Plains contract to run that facility for another five years.)
Eastern Jackson County agencies are among those getting funding:
• The Community Services League, based in Independence, with facilities and a broad range of services across Eastern Jackson County – $30,000, the same as in 2017 and the same as requested.
• FosterAdopt Connect, with a facility in Independence, supporting foster families – $25,000, the same as in 2017 and the same as requested.
• The Jackson County Soil and Water Conservation District – $20,000, the same as in 2017 and the same as requested.
• River of Refuge, which has transitional housing in Raytown – $50,000, the same as in 2017 but less than the $218,000 requested.
• Lee’s Summit CARES – $10,000, the same as this year but less than the $12,000 requested.
• The Cave Spring Association, which runs the county’s parklike facility on the old Santa Fe Trail at Blue Ridge and Gregory boulevards – $22,677, the same as in 2017 and slightly less than the $22,977 requested.
But the county didn’t find money for everyone. Comprehensive Mental Health Services, based in Independence, had asked for $176,786 to hire a suicide-prevention specialist and a hospital discharge specialist, both for the Zero Suicide program. It got no funding.
Also left out was Synergy, which works with homeless youth. It’s the group that runs the safe-place program for which there are signs at local QuikTrip stores. It had asked for $51,200 but got nothing.
Children’s Mercy Hospital, which has facilities across the metro area including a large clinic in Independence, got $100,000 this year and asked for $850,000 but is instead getting $50,000.
The county is funding a new agency, First Call, with $90,000 for its efforts to coordinate services to deal with opioid addiction, fitting in with the prescription drug database that the county started early this year to help get a handle on that problem.
And some got less than requested but at least got new funding. Happy Bottoms provides disposable diapers to many local service providers. Diapers are not covered by food stamps, and some parents struggling to get by reuse them. Also, the lack of diapers is a barrier to getting day care, and advocates say that creates a barrier to holding down a job. Happy Bottoms asked for $50,000 and is getting $4,500.