Jun 11, 2024

Ellis County Commission will hear outside agency funding requests before changes next year

Posted Jun 11, 2024 10:01 AM

Hays Post

The Ellis County Commission has elected to change the way outside agencies submit funding requests to the county, but before changes take place next year, on Tuesday, they will hear 2025 budget requests.

County Administrator Darin Myers said the requests for funding from outside agencies went up 24% from 2021 to 2024 and were expected to increase another 10% for 2025 despite the commission’s request that the agencies keep the requests the same as the year before.

The commission elected to split the outside agencies into two groups: agencies they are required to fund and other, mostly nonprofit agencies that have received county funding in the past.

The first group is Grow Hays, DSNWK, High Plains Mental Health, Ellis County Historical Society, Conservation District and the Humane Society of the High Plains.

Myers said those agencies are linked to the county in different ways.

Some provide services the county would be required to provide if they didn’t exist. Others have a funding formula that determines cost shares with other counties or receive matching funds.

Under the funding process starting for the 2026 budget, those agencies would still come before the commission and present their funding requests.

The second group, comprised of about 20 agencies, would send their applications for funding to the CARE Council. The CARE Council is a group of 12 members who review funding requests and submit them to Hays' Social Services budget and the city's and county's alcohol tax budgets. The council also makes recommendations for United Way funding.

Earlier this month, the commission allocated 3/10th of a mill to fund the second group. Myers said that equals $153,742. The budget requests for the second group this year total $168,912.

The commission will consider those requests this year with the process transferring to the CARE Council for the 2026 budget requests.

“Those agencies would then go to the CARE Council in the months of October, November, December and submit an online application to the Care Council,” Myers said. “Once we get our valuation, and the budget process is done at the end of the year, the new mill levy would be set for 2024, for the 2025 budget .”

Myers said the CARE Council would then go meet with the agencies in early 2025 to discuss their applications and funding requests.

"They would actually know several months earlier in the year what their allocations would be based on the CARE Council's suggestion off the number that the commission would set," Myers said.

County Commissioner Nathan Leiker said he likes the idea of the CARE Council talking with the groups.

"I like the thought that the CARE Council will go do some interviewing and pay a little more attention to some of these agencies, rather than a 5-, 10-, 15-minute talk in front of us where somebody's nervous," Leiker said. "The council may be able to get the whole picture, a better picture than what we can attain and make better decisions."

United Way Executive Director Erica Berges, the wife of Commissioner Michael Berges, will help the CARE Council through the process and will attend Tuesday’s meeting to discuss it with the county commission.

The funding request for the other agencies the commission will consider is $1.329 million.

All outside agencies will present their funding requests for the 2025 budget Tuesday to the county commission.

The commission meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Ellis County Administrative Office at 718 Main St. in Hays.