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A tough call
Decision to not raise Extension budget not an easy one
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 The debacle with our Kansas Legislature and Governor Sam Brownback has claimed another victim, this one close to home.

The Barton County Commission Monday morning had to say no to the Barton County Extension Council which had requested $222,500 from the county this year. This was a $5,500,or 2.5 percent hike.

Instead, the commission held the funding level at last year’s amount of $215,000. 

“We appreciate all you do,” Commissioner Don Davis told the council representatives who crowded into the commission chambers. But, with the problems in Topeka and the problems in the Barton County Treasure’s Office, a lot of uncertainty hangs in the air. 

Commissioner Alicia Straub, who herself has participated in 4-H also understood. But, “this is going to be a tough year.”

It was difficult to say no. After all, the council’s flagship 4-H program serves just about all the youth in the county over the course of a year through the fair and other school programs.

It is the culmination of these efforts that are showcased during the Barton County Fair, which just concluded another successful run this past Sunday. The exhibits reflect the many life lessons these kids learn, lessons they carry with them throughout their lives.

That, council supporter Kelly Wondra said, is hard to quantify. Perhaps, he said, these youth development services should be the priority.

You see, the council faces a possible reduction in funding from Kansas State University due to the problems in Topeka. It needs to replace vehicles and would like to give raises to employees.

Funding for the council has been a contentious issue for a couple of years now. The $215,000 was award last year after a compromise, but it is the same total as in 2009.

But, “we’re in the same position,” commission Chairman Kenny Schremmer said. The county is facing a potential six mill, $1 million drop in revenue and is looking at forgoing pay increases and budget expansions.

In the end, “we have to make decisions that affect us all,” Schremmer said.

It is sad that we are in this predicament in the first place. But now that we are, we must make due. 

The commission acted wisely in holding the line on this budget item. Maybe, next year will be better, maybe.

Dale Hogg