Douglas County Commission to consider providing additional funding to Just Food

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World File Photo

The Douglas County Courthouse is pictured in September 2018.

Douglas County could soon provide some help to make sure a local food bank can feed county residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

The County Commission on Wednesday will consider providing Just Food, a food bank providing services to Douglas County residents, up to $100,000 of supplemental funding for the current budget year.

According to a memo to commissioners, Just Food has seen a significant increase in its number of clients in recent months, which coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, the food bank estimates an annual budget shortfall of just over $200,000.

If approved, the county would provide up to $100,000 of new funding to the food bank, which would be used to feed Douglas County residents through October, according to the memo. To help pay for the funding, Douglas County staff is exploring federal and state grants.

The City of Lawrence will also provide supplemental funding to the food bank. Last week, the city committed up to $100,000 of funding to Just Food, according to the memo.

In other business, the commissioners will meet for a work session with county zoning and planning staff to discuss active zoning permits.

County zoning staff has been conducting a review of all permits in the county with the goal of identifying how many permits have been issued, if they are up to date, and identifying what resources are needed to reach full compliance, according to a memo to commissioners.

The commissioners will also consider extending its local state of emergency declaration for the pandemic. If approved, the 60-day extension would be retroactive to Thursday, May 14.

Consideration of the extension is scheduled for the meeting’s consent agenda, which allows the commissioners to consider and approve several items in one motion, unless a commissioner or member of the public asks to pull an item for discussion.

The County Commission will meet through an online video conference at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday for a work session and regular meeting, respectively. The meetings will be open to the walk-in public at the county courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St., but a link for the public to watch live online is available on the county’s website, Residents may also call in and listen by phone by dialing 1-312-626-6799 and entering meeting ID 984-7082-5159. Full audio from the meeting will continue to be posted on the county’s website, as usual.

Contact Dylan Lysen

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