Representatives of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) officials from Douglas County and the City of Lawrence have signed formal agreements that allow SRS to avoid closure of its service center office in Lawrence.
During an early October meeting, SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki told the city and county representatives that the department's final budget recommendation to the governor will include funds for operating the five locally financed SRS offices across the state.
Under the terms of the accord, Douglas County and the City of Lawrence have agreed to provide temporary financial assistance that makes it possible for SRS to achieve budget cuts mandated in the FY 2012 state budget without having to close the Lawrence office. Client services at the Lawrence SRS office have continued uninterrupted.
Late last summer SRS reached agreements with four other communities, Fort Scot, McPherson, Pratt and Marysville, that allowed those offices to remain open as well.
"I am extremely pleased that we signed this agreement, and I informed Douglas County and the City of Lawrence that SRS' final budget recommendation for FY 2012 will include a request that the Legislature provide funds to operate the five self-financed 5 offices across the state," Siedlecki said.
"(Lawerence) Mayor Aron Cromwell and I had a very productive meeting with Secretary Siedlecki. He assured us that his final budget request will include funding for the Lawrence SRS office space beginning July 1, 2012. We intend to actively support this budget request in order to eliminate any financial obligation of the city or county after July 1, 2012," Douglas County Commission Chairman Jim Flory said.
"I am happy that an effort to restore our SRS office funding is under way. The funding help given by the city and county could only be a temporary stop-gap, and the continuous operation of the SRS office here in Lawrence is vital to the most vulnerable of our citizens," Cromwell said."During the course of negotiations over this agreement, we have developed a good working relationship with Douglas County and City of Lawrence officials that should stand us in good stead going forward," Siedlecki said.