Hard-pressed Agencies Learn To Stretch Budget Dollars

Health Planning Office Cuts Spending, Seeks Other Revenue

March 01, 1992|By Daniel P. Clemens Jr. | Daniel P. Clemens Jr.,Staff writer

Often, agency administrators turn to simple methods when trying to do more with less money in these times of slashed government spending.

Bruce Cash, executive director of the Western Maryland Health Planning Agency, scheduled four business meetings Thursday in this part of the state, cutting down on travel time and expenses.

"We just try to do things more economically," Cash said. "It might not sound like much, but it's the little things that add up."

Cash appeared before the county commissioners Thursday to submit a spending request for fiscal year 1993, which begins July 1. WMHPA is the health planning agency for five western counties, including Carroll, and assists regional governments and health providers in planning forhealth-care needs.

The $23,740 budget proposal is $10 less than the budget for the current year. The agency originally was allocated $25,000 for fiscal 1992, but that amount was reduced to $23,450 by thecommissioners after several rounds of cuts in state aid to counties.

The aid cuts from counties hampered the agency's plans to implement an immunization program for children age 2 and younger in the five-county area.

As an example of agencies' pursuit of other sources of money, WMHPA has applied for a foundation grant that, if awarded, would allow the project to move forward in the coming budget year, Cash said.

There are some 120 applications for 20 grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The candidates will be reduced to 50 byJune.

Also on Thursday, the commissioners received a 1993 budget proposal from Junction Inc., a private, non-profit corporation that provides drug abuse and prevention treatment services to Carroll citizens.

The organization is requesting $52,835, the same amount allocated for the current year after reductions in state aid to Carroll. The original amount was $53,915.

The county money covers part of the salaries for two positions in the program.

Junction also is trying to find ways to do things with less money, said Tina Perkins, prevention coordinator.

The group is supported by a number of financing sources, including a governor's grant that provided $5,600 this year but won't be available in fiscal 1993 because of the state budget crisis.

"We've managed to hold our own," Perkins said.

In the current budget year, Junction received more than $111,000 from sources other than the commissioners.

One program that has suffered in thewake of state budget cuts is a support and education group for children whose siblings are substance abusers.

Representatives from both agencies are scheduled to return this month for budget work sessions with the commissioners.

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