Lawrence City Commission to discuss funding allocation process for social services

photo by: Mike Yoder

Lawrence City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St., is pictured Thursday, July 7, 2016

City leaders will soon discuss potential changes to their process for funding local social services and programs.

As part of the Lawrence City Commission meeting Tuesday, city staff will present commissioners with information regarding state law and city code related to social service funding and an overview of the city’s social service funding processes, according to a city staff memo to the commission. Following the presentation, the commission will discuss policy issues related to how it allocates social service funding.

Changes to how the city allocates social service dollars would affect more than a dozen local nonprofit organizations and more than $2 million in annual funding.

The city’s 2020 budget provides $736,000 from its special alcohol fund and $1.54 million from its general operating fund toward social service agencies and programs, according to the presentation. That funding supports about 20 social service agencies and programs, including the Lawrence Community Shelter, the Boys & Girls Club, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and Just Food.

In years past, the city’s Social Service Funding Advisory Board recommended social service and special alcohol funding allocations to the City Commission, which the commission would then consider adopting as part of its annual budget process. The presentation states that the Alcohol Advisory Board will now make allocation recommendations for the special alcohol fund following adoption of the budget. The general fund allocation process for the 2021 budget is under development.

In addition, the presentation notes that the city will provide approximately $1.275 million this year to its affordable housing fund, which goes to support affordable housing projects and programs. The Affordable Housing Advisory Board evaluates those funding requests and submits a recommendation to the commission for consideration.

The memo states that city staff is presenting the overview ahead of the commission’s work on its next strategic plan, which the commission uses to help guide its budget decisions. The City Commission will convene at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.

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