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Commissioners’ Report: Social Services’ budget safe from state cuts for now


Fri, Jan 31st, 2003
Posted in Features

"I don’t see much that’s going to effect the county," Tom Boyd, Fillmore County Social Services Director, told the county board on Tuesday. Boyd was commenting on the state’s potential budget cuts and the impact they may have on his department. This was the first glimmer of light for board members since drastic state cuts had been prophesied. At this point, proposed cuts will not hinder county services the last six months of this biennium. Any sting will come in the form of delayed payments of State grants, which will cause the county to become more creative with their checkbook.

Boyd’s report noted that there is very little state money in his department’s administrative reimbursements. Most of the proposed changes now projected focus on health service providers, which translates into reductions in reimbursements to hospitals, clinics and practitioners.

There have been discussions to cap Developmentally Disabled waivers at $3.5 million, in which 50% is federal and 50% is state money. These funds are used to help provide services such as group homes where developmentally challenged individuals can reside at rather than going to a larger institution.

Boyd told the Board that if the state were to come back with big cuts in the next biennium, he would not be looking to the county for support. Adjustments of current services would then have to be made. There are, of course, mandated services such as child protection, and detox, which the state says a county must provide. Non-mandated services such as in-home family counseling could possibly be cut back as well. To do so, however, would actually cost more money in the long run, as the counseling has the ability to ward off more serious problems down the road.

AFDC & Food Stamps

The Commissioners were also given a brief overview of AFDC/MFIP payments (aid for those without job security) and food stamp payments distributed in the past 18 years. AFDC peaked in 1986 at just under $900,000 then made a sharp dip to about $490,000 in 1991. It then rose again sharply and peaked in 1994 at $800,000. Payments started to level off in 1997 at just under $500,000 and were as low as $400,000 in 2001. The last year has shown a gradual increase again.

Food stamp payments stayed at just over $500,000 from 1987-1990 and then made a steep climb topping out in 1994 at $800,000. Just as quickly, the program’s payments took a header and bottomed out at around $230,000 in 2000. Like the AFDC payments, food stamp payments are now seeing an increase.

Commissioner Duane Bakke commented about "receiving offices" that obtain monies from federal and state offices and then redistribute it to local levels. This "go between" is cutting into funds that would be more efficiently used if handed over directly.

Other business

•Approved Fillmore County Agricultural Inspector’s annual report.

•Approved purchase of server and software for new courthouse building.

•Accepted low bids for gas & diesel fuel for county shops as presented by Highway Engineer John Grindland.

•Renewed the Sentencing to Service contract with the state of MN for fiscal year 2004 at $32,100 and 2005 at $32,900.



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