12:41pm

Wed May 16, 2012
Lexington/Richmond

The Budget Debate on Social Services

After six years of budget cuts, the city agency that provides social services for Lexington may see an increase.  A seven percent increase is proposed in the current budget plan.  Still, Social Services Commissioner Beth Mills says demand for services have also gone up.  In short, she says fewer people could actually receive assistance.

“It will be flat or fewer people because the cost of providing services has gone up..since the recession the number of people in need has gone up..it’s not only urban county government which has cut funding..a lot of federal and private grants money are being stretched,” said Mills.

Mills says federal stimulus money that helps the low income pay for housing and heat disappeared last July.  She says the mayor’s budget proposal does include 80 thousand dollars to help fund some of those costs. Social Service Commissioner Beth Mills says it’s critical additional funds still be considered for other partner agencies.

“We’re always gonna have more requests than money available..but as the requests increase…I think it’s gonna be more incumbent upon the mayor and the council to say.. we’re gonna have to fund these folks at a higher level or fund more varied programs..so I do think eventually the foregone conclusion will be we’re gonna have to increase partner agency funding,” added Mills.

The Urban County Council is considering funding issues now.  The council is expected to vote on a new budget in late June.