Commissioners continue Family Resource center, Humane Society funding

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

McCOOK, Neb. — Red Willow County commissioners agreed to continue support for the Family Resource Center and the McCook Humane Society through 2019-2020, at their weekly meeting Monday morning.

On a motion by commissioner Cayla Richards, commissioners increased the county's support for the Family Resource Center from $5,500 to $6,000. Fellow commissioner Steve Downer said, "Five hundred dollars won't break us. These are dollars well spent."

Commissioners told Lorie Prestes and Mary Keslin of the Humane Society and animal shelter that they appreciate the work they do for homeless animals in the county, and unanimously continued the county's annual support of $3,000. Board chairman Earl McNutt said he has no objection to support for the Humane Society.

Family Resource Center

Director Kathy Haas said FRC provides "uniques services that I don't know what our families would do without." Services include support for parents — first-time parents, foster parents, single parents, teen parent(s); assistive technology equipment for children with special needs; school supply, Christmas gift and clothing giveaways; and free books for children.

Haas told commissioners their entire annual budget (for thee paid staff members) is $40,000 and they serve an average of 50-plus families per week, which amounts to nearly 3,000 service contacts with families each year.

FRC is financed with fund-raisers, donations and grants; by McCook's annual "Big Give McCook" event; and with contributions from counties served (Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock and Red Willow). Haas said that 55 percent of their families are from Red Willow County.

She estimates $3,000 in moving expenses in early 2019-2020, as the center is leaving Grace Baptist Church and moving into the fire department side of McCook's former Public Safety Center.

McCook Humane Society

Humane Society treasurer Mary Keslin told commissioners that the shelter has a monthly budget of about $11,000, which includes approximately $7,500 in salaries. "We have good people," she said. "Very passionate and very dedicated. We want to treat them right."

Contributions from communities and counties are supplemented by the annual "Shoot for the Shelter" and "Dog Day in the Park" fund-raisers, Prestes said. On the second Saturday of every month, from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., technicians will trim animals' toenails for donations at "Pet-i-cure" events.

Prestes reported that 736 animals were taken in during 2018: 555 dogs, 168 cats and 13 "other" (rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets). Adoption records indicate that 527 animals were adopted out, 163 returned to owners, six euthanized (sick or unadoptable) and 40 transferred to rescue operations.

On a motion by Downer and a second by Richards, commissioners will continue the county's donation of $250 a month to the shelter.

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In public hearings, commissioners:

— Confirmed their approval in 2017 of an expansion at N.A. Timmerman Feeding, between McCook and Indianola, from 16,000 head to 19,000-20,000 head.

— Visited with Keith Becker of Southwest Gravel Products, Kearney, who plans to develop a new gravel pit west of McCook, near but not including existing sand pits on land owned by Larry Swanson.

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