McCOOK, Nebraska -- Red Willow County, Nebraska, commissioners increased the county's yearly contribution to the "Family Resource Center" to help the center pay for services provided to 478 Red Willow County families during the past year.
Kathy Haas of McCook, FRC coordinator, told commissioners at their weekly meeting Monday morning that "no donation is too large," and that any donation will help the center keep its doors open.
After losing grant funding in September 2009 and contract work in October 2010, the center has struggled to survive, Haas said. Without donations to help pay for services and operating costs, the center will have to close, she said.
Haas said the Family Resource Center provides services that are not duplicated by other community agencies. "If we close our doors, these services are gone," Haas said. "No one else will pick them up." These unique services include a home visitation program, a library of equipment for children with special needs, a monthly respite program for families with children with special needs, a children's clothing exchange program, a school supplies giveaway (that supplements a similar Salvation Army program), resource libraries for parenting , early childhood development and children with special needs/behavior issues and referrals to other agencies and services.
These services are provided at no charges to families, Haas said.
Four part-time staff members earn an average of $8.60 per hour; two part-time staff members are paid by the federal "Experience Works" program. Volunteer hours total about 60 hours a week. "We're barely keeping our heads above water," Haas said. "We couldn't be open without our volunteers."
Haas said the need for FRC services continues to increase. "There's always more need, and less money coming in," she said.
The FRC spent $75,643 in 2009-2010 and has amended its 2010-2011 budget (due to the loss of a Boys and Girls Home contract) to $69,611. "It's a bare-bones budget -- no frills," Haas said.
Red Willow County contributed $3,500 for 2010-11 to help pay for services provided to 349 families. Monday, commissioner Steve Downer suggested increasing the county's contribution to $3,750, to help pay for services provided to 478 families over the past year. Commissioner Vesta Dack called the FRC, "the go-to people," adding, "They're very deserving. They do Red Willow County a lot of good."
The FRC also received contributions from Dundy, Furnas, Frontier, Hayes and Hitchcock counties. Other income comes from the McCook United Way, donations and fundraisers, a "Family Day Out" and other grants, fees from "Love and Logic" parenting classes and contract work for Boys and Girls Home, the Nebraska Health and Human Services and Region II.
In other action:
* Commissioners heard that a 50-foot, single-span steel bridge over Red Willow Creek north of the former Republican Valley junior/senior high could cost $125,00o to $150,000. A steel bridge fabricated by Husker Steel of columbus, Nebraska, would allow double the capacity of water flowing underneath the roadway compared to twin culverts as commissioners have discussed, according to Husker Steel representative Mike Rowe Jr.
Commissioners will continue discussion of the bridge replacement project at next week's meeting.
* Three Calabria Subdivision residents, Adam Wilhelmson, Adam Wolford and Rebecca Wolcott presented the signatures of 30 residents requesting that the county provide maintenance of the subdivision's roads.
Wilhelmson told commissioners, "We're asking for maintenance to the standards to which (the roads) were built -- no improvements -- just gravel and blading."
Wolford and Wilhelmson figured that developer Joe Giorgione has transformed a $75,000 piece of land into a $3 million piece of land, with 21 homes (20 inhabited and one almost finished) and lots for 23 more. Wolford said residents are asking for representation for the approximately $46,000 in county taxes that they pay.
Commissioners tabled any the action on the homeowners' request until the next commissioners' meeting, allowing them time to consult Red Willow County attorney Paul Wood.