County Comment: Carry-forward funds will benefit community

County Comment
Carry-forward funds will benefit community
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

In its regular meeting on June 20, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners approved a number of actions designed to benefit community programs, among them, a Department of Social Services Plan to help unemployed people find jobs.
The Washington County Community Partnership (WCCP) Carry-forward funding from the Governor's Office for Children (GOC) were recommended to be used for educational, and health as well as employment purposes.
Carry-forward funds were earned by the Community Partnership through savings in program management in fiscal year 2003. A total of $698,995.45 was approved by the GOC for disbursement for one-time only expenditures. The Governor's Office says that "the use of carry forward funds is reserved exclusively for one-time expenditures. It is not intended to sustain existing programming and/or to initiate services or staffing that cannot be subsequently sustained."
With that in mind, WCCP and its management component, the Local Management Board proposed to fund several community-based programs.
$246,000.00 would go to the Department of Social Services and County Commuter to fund transportation for Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) clients to job sites along Hopewell Road. Employers in that area have said they have as many as 500 jobs available, and there is currently no public transportation to those sites.
A pilot project would be developed to determine how many TCA clients would utilize the service, and if the stated need can be met using such a program. If successful, information from the pilot project would be used as the basis for application to state and federal sources for new bus route startup funds, to sustain the program.
Some 18 employers in the Hunters' Green/Hopewell Valley area have said they would benefit from the transit services. The program would likely see startup in mid to late July.
Carry-forward funds would be used to improve health services in the public school system.
Washington County Public Schools will receive $222,500 for a School-Based Health Center (SBHC) Expansion Project at South Hagerstown High School, and construction of a new School-Based Health Center at Williamsport High School. SBHCs deliver comprehensive services that are integrated with existing school health and pupil personnel services in support of educational goals.
The program is currently operational in two sites within the county, at Western Heights Middle School and South Hagerstown High School. Expansion to a third site, Williamsport High School, has been targeted for the 2006-2007 school year. Both expansions can be supported by one-time only funding to cover the costs of building renovations. In addition, the Washington County Health Department would receive $30,000 for purchase of start up equipment and clinic supplies for Williamsport High School's SBHC.
$24,999 will go to the Board of Education for the Project Life Saver program for children with autism. The program helps authorities find children with special needs who leave school without permission.
$75,000 will go to the United Way of Washington County to support an advertising and educational campaign titled "Born Learning", targeted towards families of young children at risk of developmental delay. The campaign would promote services available to those families and children in the local area.
Funds are made available through grants from the Governor's Office for Children and Families to improve the quality of life for County citizens. No local tax dollars are involved in the program. The WCCP/LMB secures grants for community programs and provides oversight on the use of grant funds.