An overage of appropriated funds in Faulkner County’s MEMS expenditures was allocated Tuesday night to fund two agencies whose funding was cut by the city of Conway earlier this year.
The Faulkner County Council on Developmental Disabilities was appropriated $21,000, and the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County, $10,000.
Regina Oakley, county treasurer, said the funds are part of an "overage of appropriated money" issued to MEMS from the county’s general fund.
Both agencies petitioned the court for funds to sustain current transportation services.
Rennia Johnston, executive director of FCCDD, said after 15 years of city funding, the agency was devastated to hear that their program would not be funded.
"We were assured in October that the money would be there. This was devastating to the agency and its people. We run our vehicles to death," Johnston said.
According to Johnston, the agency’s vehicles traveled 13,000 miles in June.
The agency’s initial purpose was to provide supportive employment to persons with disabilities, but the need for transportation to and from life-sustaining medical appointments trumped the program’s original goals.
"We would have to cease services. If we don’t get this money, we will cease, and that is just it," Johnston said.
Justices and audience members voiced concerns about the possibility of more agencies seeking county funds.
County Judge Preston Scroggin said the appropriated funds will sustain the agencies until Jan. 1, and he does not know of any other future requests.
At a June meeting, the court approved an ordinance that contained the appropriation of $21,000 to fund a third agency whose funding was cut, the Faulkner County Council on Aging.
"It is my suspicion that this will be all," Scroggin said.
Boys and Girls Club Director Robert Wright said the organization serves more than 300 children in the county each day.
"Transportation is expensive because of the trips we take the children on. These are children who wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to travel. More than 50 percent of the kids we serve are on free lunch programs. It’s our responsibility to take care of these kids. We are asking for your help to help them," Wright said.
JP Dan Thessing told justices and audience members that the allocations are a "one-time deal."
"We will help one time. We’re kind of bailing the city out. Thankfully we’ve been fastidious. We say we have funds for a rainy day — well, it has rained on these people. Faulkner County will come to their assistance."