During the Board of Harvey County Commissioners budget work session Friday, one of the major issues discussed was state budget cuts and the impact those cuts are having on local governments.


During the Board of Harvey County Commissioners budget work session Friday, one of the major issues discussed was state budget cuts and the impact those cuts are having on local governments.
With less money coming from Topeka, more and more responsibility is being shifted to counties and cities, and those entities are feeling the strain as they begin their own budgeting process.
“Bad management by our state is costing us money,” Commissioner Chip Westfall said.
“We’ve spent a lot of years in these budgets cleaning up what the state does,” Commissioner Marge Roberson said.
The Ninth Judicial District Harvey County Teen Court is just one casualty of state budget cuts. The program ended July 1.
Teen Court is an alternative to prosecution, enabling juvenile offenders to avoid going through the court system on first-time, minor offenses, such as shoplifting. Offenders appear before a “jury” of their peers and learn to accept responsibility for their actions.
Without the program, juvenile cases will have to go through the court system or a more traditional juvenile diversion program.
“Teen Court is a really unique program that’s just tragic to lose,” David Yoder, Harvey County attorney, told the Kansan in an earlier interview.
Although commissioners agreed Teen Court was a positive program, they aren’t sure the county can support it.
“It’s a great idea, but the state’s made a decision,” Westfall said. “... We can’t bail the state out.”
Ron Krehbiel, commission chairman, agreed.
“We can’t support the whole thing ourselves,” he said.
Another important issue for the commission to consider this year is maintaining a healthy fund balance, said Anthony Swartzendruber, assistant administrator and finance director for the county.
“It’s prudent financial management; it’s good financial management,” he said. “If we draw down on our balances too much … we’re going to run into cash flow issues.”
The commission plans to continue the budget discussion at further meetings. They will set the mill levy Aug. 1.
A public hearing and adoption of the budget is set for Aug. 15.