Topeka Kansas legislators want to know whether Gov. Sam Brownback intends to put state funding in his recommended budget to cover the lease of the state welfare office in Lawrence and several other towns.
The question came up during a meeting of the House-Senate State Building Construction Committee.
Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services director of government affairs Gary Haulmark said he wasn’t 100 percent sure of the answer, but added, “I know there was a lot of interest.”
Haulmark said that SRS Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. encouraged the governor to recommend the funding.
Brownback’s office said the governor was still putting his budget proposal together for the Legislature to consider when the 2012 session starts in January.
Last summer, Siedlecki proposed closing nine SRS offices, including the one in Lawrence. He said the closures were needed to comply with a mandated budget cut.
But Lawrence officials protested, saying the closure would have created havoc in the community by disrupting needed services to thousands of people.
The city and county agreed to pay SRS $450,000 over two years, which equals the amount of rent and overhead expenses, to keep the office open. Fort Scott, McPherson, Pratt and Marysville approved similar agreements.
Siedlecki has since told legislators and local officials that he would request funding from Brownback and the Legislature to finance those offices through state funding.