The Family Life Center, a mental health services group in Columbia's Wilde Lake village facing a 26 percent cut in its Howard County funding, could see that amount mostly restored under a deal reached yesterday between the County Council and County Executive Charles I. Ecker.
Ecker, on the recommendation of a citizens' board that oversees grants to human services agencies, had proposed cutting the grant to the Family Life Center to $56,750 -- down $20,000 from its grant the two previous years.
Manus O'Donnell, county director of citizen services, said the Family Life Center had run annual deficits the past three years and needed to build more connections with area insurers to bolster its income. The cut was intended to underscore that message.
But at the urging of Councilwoman Mary C. Lorsung, a west Columbia Democrat, Ecker has agreed to set aside $16,920 -- surplus money accidentally budgeted into the county's grant fund -- as an extra grant if the Family Life Center makes changes sought by county officials.
O'Donnell declined to comment on the possibility of the center getting the extra grant, but he said the group seems serious about making changes. "I'm very encouraged by our recent discussions."
Also yesterday, the County Council tentatively approved budget cuts made Monday by the school board. The council typically sets the bottom line amount for education and lets the school board divide up the money.
"I think we can trust them to do a good job on this," said Councilman Darrel E. Drown, an Ellicott City Republican, as he quickly reviewed the cuts.
The final vote on Howard County's budget, proposed at $358 million with no county property or income tax-rate increases for the 12 months beginning July 1, is scheduled May 27.
Pub Date: 5/21/97