City provides remaining funding after Lawrence homeless shelter submits audit

Lawrence Community Shelter, 3655 E. 25th St.

The city of Lawrence has sent the Lawrence Community Shelter a check for $46,000 after receiving the shelter’s 2016 financial audit.

Casey Toomay, assistant Lawrence city manager, said the city issued the check Dec. 6. The amount of the check equaled a quarter of the $184,000 allocation that the city budgeted for the community shelter in 2017. The community shelter receives its city funding in two equal payments during the year. The city withheld half of the shelter’s second annual disbursement on Oct. 6 when the community shelter board failed to meet a deadline to submit an audit for the 2016 calendar year.

Lawrence City Manager Tom Markus told the Lawrence Journal-World in October that he had asked for the audit after the community shelter requested in April that the city forgive about $280,000 in debt that it owes to the city from a 2013 loan. The city ultimately rejected that request.

Jackie Counts, president of the Lawrence Community Shelter’s board of directors, told the Journal-World in October that the board schedules annual audits later in the year during accounting firms’ nonpeak periods to save money.

John Magnuson, treasurer of the nonprofit shelter’s board, said the board approved the audit last month and forwarded it to the city.

The community shelter board has received about five applications for the shelter’s executive director position, which has been open since the board dismissed Trey Meyer in October, Magnuson said. The board is looking to fill that position in mid-January, he said.

The board has not revealed why it terminated Meyer.

Community shelter representatives are scheduled to meet Monday with Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug to discuss $54,000 in county funding for 2018 to create a cold-weather shelter for 15 to 25 people from October through March, Magnuson said. The county funding would provide money for remodeling space in the shelter at 3655 E. 25th St. for the cold-weather shelter and some funding for additional staffing, he said.

The shelter will have to amend its special-use permit with the city to allow it to take in the additional people during the cold-weather months, Magnuson said. That process is expected to start after the meeting with Weinaug and architectural planning for the auxiliary shelter gets underway, he said.