The budget blow might be softened for social service agencies in Douglas County.
During 2010 budget discussions, county commissioners on Monday morning voiced support for reducing a proposed 3 percent cut to either 1 percent or to last year’s funding level for the agencies.
“This may be the year we need to scale back a little bit to take care of our human services,” Commissioner Jim Flory said.
He said the county budget appeared to be in better shape than commissioners originally expected, and the economic recession was already increasing demand for many social service agencies.
Flory mentioned allocating enough money for only a 1 percent cut to larger agencies, like Senior Services of Douglas County, the county extension office, the Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association and Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center.
Agencies that request smaller amounts of funding, like the Lawrence Humane Society, could be restored to last year’s amount of county funding.
Commissioners could get the extra money for agencies by setting aside about $100,000 less than the $525,000 currently in the recommended budget to help with future industrial park development costs. Administrators said it would cost about $82,000 to reduce a 3 percent cut to 1 percent for all social service agencies.
If the funds were transferred from a different budget category, commissioners could likely avoid a property tax increase.
Commissioner Mike Gaughan said the previous commission made significant cuts during the 2009 budget process, which might give the current commission some wiggle room for 2010.
“There are a series of cuts we could make, but that we don’t have to make,” Gaughan said.
The third day of county budget hearings wrapped up Monday, and commissioners are scheduled to delve into more specifics about their own recommendations for the budget during a 9 a.m. meeting Tuesday at the courthouse, 1100 Mass.