Community Services asks council for support
The Harrison County Council Monday night heard a request of $208,000 for the operating budget for Harrison County Community Services.
Shirley Raymond, executive director, said 2008 was a challenging year as ‘conditions to survive continue to deteriorate’ for those in need throughout the county.
‘Many people are experiencing the effects of reduced services while the costs for basic needs continued to escalate throughout most of the year,’ she said.
Almost every category of service experienced a significant increase from 2007 to 2008, according to a hand-out from Raymond. New individuals helped by HCCS rose from 1,566 in 2007 to 2,330 last year. More than 500 total households using the services on a one-time basis were added last year.
The food pantry had an increase of nearly 3,000 regular food baskets and a similar increase in emergency food baskets.
The total budget for HCCS is $587,500. Other than local government funds, the program receives nearly $100,000 from Metro United Way and $90,000 from the Harrison County Community Foundation, among other sources.
HCCS has attempted to work within the reorganized Community Action Agency of Southern Indiana but with little success, Raymond said. It continues to operate without significant funding that should be coming in, Raymond said, from the Community Service Block Grant and other money sources that flow directly to agencies identified as a Community Action Agency. HCCS became a Community Action Agency in 1976.
Raymond said the state-run food stamp certification program has ‘completely failed our people.’ She said many cases have been wrongly filed, and some recipients were denied service for three months.
HCCS has a staff of 10, seven of whom are full time.
‘We’re serving more people with the same staff,’ Raymond said.
The $208,000, which is the same as last year’s request, will be voted on at the council’s next meeting, Monday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Harrison County Court House in Corydon.
In other matters Monday night, the $2 million request for property tax reduction to be given to the three school systems in the county, to be appropriated by their assessed valuations, was heard and will be voted on at the council’s next meeting.
If the request is passed, South Harrison will receive almost $1.3 million, North Harrison $530,894 and Lanesville $202,304.
The council approved $300,000 for the Milltown bridge project, which is in the design phase, Commissioner Terry Miller said. The board also approved $20,000 for The Next Step, a program which, among other services, helps recovering alcoholics and addicts. Both additionals were appropriated out of riverboat gaming funds.