Manhattan’s Social Services Advisory Board Funded Social Service Agencies Public Forum was held at the Manhattan Public Library auditorium Monday night,with representatives from 11 agencies that service the Manhattan area giving presentations showing an overview of the services they provide, and the impact of city funds to their programs.
Jim Reed of the Micah Society wanted the session to be a civil discourse on the topic, and wanted to get the message out to the community before the Manhattan City Commission went into budget talks in May 2012.
Manhattan City Commissioner John Matta says totally cutting the funding for social services was never the goal for the City Commission. It was reducing spending across the spectrum for the city of Manhattan. Matta says the City of Manhattan will be fully funding social services through 2012 to give organizations time to possibly come up with alternative means of funding.
Executive Director for Shepherd’s Crossing, Bevelry Olson, believed the forum was successful in educating those who attended the forum.
Chair for the Riley County Democrats Katherine Focke believes it helped bring those services into the spotlight.
The 11 social service organizations include Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Shepherd’s Crossing. Social Service funding from the City of Manhattan is going up for review in May 2012 along with the rest of the city budget.
Manhattan City Commissioner Wynn Butler says that there might be alternate ways to provide funding for social services. Butler says the new 1/2 cent sales tax that may be coming to Riley County might be a possibility, and he would like to see some sort of compromise to the way social services is being funded by the City of Manhattan.