TARC leaders react to Shawnee County budget cuts

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TOPEKA, KS — Steep cuts from Thursday’s Shawnee County budget meeting has left many non profit organizations wondering where they will find the extra money they need to keep running. Most organizations saw a decrease in funds from the county. The 2014 county budget is down about four million from last year.

After Shawnee County Commissioners decided Thursday to cut TARC’s budget by 15%. Executive Director, Eileen Doran, says TARC’s leaders were in shock.

“I think that the people who have the least ability to have a voice in front of the commissioners ended up sustaining one of the largest losses,” said Doran.

On top of the almost $150,000 that TARC will not be getting from Shawnee County this year, they have also lost about $210,000 in funding from the United Way.

In the meeting on Thursday, Commissioner Cook voted against the 2014 budget saying the cuts to mental health was a main reason why.

“The second decision would be to make a further reduction to Parks and Rec of $500,000 so those monies could be reallocated for mental health. Those are two areas where I think decisions could be taken,” said Commissioner Cook.

Doran says these cuts were hard for the leaders of TARC to hear.

“I’m always disappointed when there are decisions to cut services to vulnerable citizens, but I understand they were in a very difficult position this year,” said Doran.

Planning for this new reduced budget is still in the early stages, and Doran says TARC has to look at their operation to find ways to make ends meet.

“Our board is very committed to having these losses not impact the services the quality of the services we provide in the community. So we will have to make some cuts,” said Doran.

TARC will be relying on more donations this year than they have in the past as a result of these cuts.

Wednesday, there will be a fundraiser for TARC at the top of the tower from 5 to 8.

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