By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — Representatives from area nonprofit organizations attended the Kosciusko County Commissioners meeting Tuesday, June 9, to give budget presentations and request funding for the 2021 budget year.
Matt Meersman, director of the St. Joseph River Basin Commission, requested $3,705.
Meersman said they receive some funding from the state for special projects but told commissioners that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, state resources are expected to go down considerably.
Jerry Black appeared on behalf of the Kosciusko Historical Society.
“Like everybody else, the historical society is struggling with the pandemic,” Black said.
The museum was closed mid-March, and according to Black, the Dillinger event has been rescheduled for September.
The historical society has a new co-director, Esther Zellner. Black said Zellner has “a good deal of experience” in grants and has been spending most of her time looking for grant opportunities.
The historical society is requesting $25,000
Tyler Bouse, a member of the 4-H Council Executive Committee, represented Kosciusko County 4-H and requested $44,347.
Bouse said there are 693 youth currently enrolled in the 4-H program in Kosciusko County and 256 registered volunteers.
According to Bouse, the 4-H fish fry, which is normally held in April, has been moved to Oct. 24.
Randy Hall, CEO of Cardinal Services Inc. of Indiana, requested support for Head Start, Career Links and KABS in the amount of $101,922.
Although the in-class Head Start program was suspended due to the pandemic, Hall said they are still working with those children virtually.
There will also be a four-week summer school “catch up” program for children who will be going to kindergarten in the fall, “provided that we can access schools and find locations to do that,” Hall said.
Jennifer Hayes, director at The Beaman Home, and summer intern Peyton Adamiec, gave an overview of the shelter and requested $40,000.
Adamiec spoke about domestic violence being a learned behavior and said they are working with children who come into the shelter to provide education and information in an attempt to help break that cycle within families.
Hayes told commissioners they are also assisting with rent costs for those transitioning out of the shelter.
Glenn Hall, executive director of Kosciusko Home Care & Hospice, said in years past the hospice side of the business has typically made enough money to help offset the losses for home care.
“We don’t make money at all on home care,” Hall said. “Our goal is to try to break even, but this year for the first time in about six years our hospice business is down.”
“We’re going to take a significant hit this year,” Hall told commissioners. “More than ever, the support from the county is needed for home care.”
Hall put in a request for $49,020.
David Neff, executive director of Kosciusko Community Senior Services, requested funding to help with costs related to the three main services offered by KCSS: transportation, home-delivered meals and the activity center.
Despite the changes in procedure and the fact that some meal delivery volunteers made the decision to stop volunteering during the pandemic, Neff said he is proud to say that the meal recipients on his routes have not missed one meal.
“Every single senior on all nine routes have gotten every meal,” Neff said. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of that. The volunteers have just stepped up.”
He said they have been unable to obtain the same amount of frozen meals during the pandemic so they purchased meals from different suppliers.
These meals do not meet the criteria from one of their funders for “nutritional meals,” Neff said, which has resulted in additional costs.
Neff requested $40,000.
In addition to the nonprofit budget presentations, Assistant Plan Director Matt Sandy requested approval for online permitting software.
Sandy recommended software offered by Schneider, which will tie into the Beacon mapping system.
The initial startup cost would be $39,170 and would include an annual service fee of $8,040.
“If there is one thing we learned, the shutdown was a great example of where this could have really come in handy,” Sandy said.
Commissioners discussed that this system could also be used by other departments, including the highway department, the health department and the treasurer’s office.
The request was approved by commissioners.
County Administrator Marsha McSherry asked for approval to send in the first coronavirus relief fund reimbursement submission. This is for items used during the pandemic, such as cleaning supplies,, sanitizers, antiseptics, technical assistance and payroll expenses.
McSherry said submissions may be sent in monthly. The first submission, for $77,036.54, was approved.
Commissioner Cary Groninger reviewed information related to a Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Warsaw and Kosciusko County for COVID-19 testing. Groninger said roughly two weeks ago they began to see an uptick in COVID positive tests in the county.
As they attempted to come up with ways to offset that, Groninger said, they found that one of the roadblocks involved people without insurance not being able to get tested.
Groninger, Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer and others worked together to come up with a solution. The city and county agreed to put $300,000 toward testing, in addition to using a portion of the CARES Act money. The testing is being offered at three Medstat locations in Warsaw, Syracuse and Nappanee.
The MOU was approved by commissioners.
In other news:
- Garry Ringler of Syracuse was honored as Veteran of the Month.
- The next regular meeting will be held at 9 a.m. June 23.