ARC grant request tabled second time

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Barry County Board for the Developmentally Disabled continued discussion on an $80,000 grant request from ARC of the Ozarks during its regularly scheduled quarterly meeting on Jan. 9.

The grant funding request, which would be used to cover a shortfall in funding from the Missouri Department of Mental Health Regional Center in Joplin, was originally presented to the board in November of 2011.

Robin Boring, ARC of the Ozarks Monett and Cassville director, presented the board with monthly average financial statements for day habilitation and individual and group services. She also gave the board an estimated rate that would cover the cost of services.

"This is for all Barry County residents who get services at the Cassville and Monett facilities," said Boring. "Right now, we are at about a two to one ratio for Barry and Lawrence county residents."

Marvin Phipps, board treasurer, said that he would like to see operating statements from the day programs, including itemized lists of expenses. Boring said those expenses include the costs for the building, fuel, hygiene products and overhead costs, such as administrative expenses charged by the Springfield ARC of the Ozarks office.

Phipps and Jim LeCompte, board chairman, asked if the expenses included a rent charge. They said that the building should be paid for because the board authorized funding for the purchase of the property, the construction of an addition and other costs.

"We funded the whole physical plant for the facility located at the end of Business 37," said LeCompte.

"We also paid a portion of the costs for the Monett facility," said Phipps.

Boring said that she will research the list of expenses. She also said that much of the shortfall is due to the lower funding rate used by the Joplin office.

LeCompte, Phipps and other board members asked Boring to invite administrators from the Joplin office to the next board meeting in order to further explain the shortfall in funding. They also asked Boring to bring additional information from ARC of the Ozarks.

"We need to know why the operating costs are not met, and we need to know what costs are included in the operating costs with a breakdown of expenses," said LeCompte. "We also need more information on why the rates don't match the expenses and how long the deficiency has been occurring."

"The day program is very important, and this is something we need to look at, but we don't have enough information to make a decision right now," said Phipps. "I would like to see operating statements for each program with itemized expenses and a breakdown of revenue too."

Phipps also asked if anyone is working to increase the rates offered by the Joplin office.

"Why is this allowed to persist when there is clearly a difference in the financials paid out of the Springfield and Joplin offices?" asked Phipps.

Boring said that she has been told that a cost-of-living and pay study is being conducted to review the Joplin rates.

"Here's another question," said Phipps. "Are other day programs losing money, and what is being done to offset those costs?"

The board voted to table the issue until their next quarterly meeting in April.

"If we don't ask these questions, we are just voting to either help fund the shortfall or not help fund the shortfall," said LeCompte, "but people might not get the services they should."

In new business, the board approved its 2012 budget. The budget is estimated to total $629,794, which includes $269,794 in revenue held over from the 2011 budget.

Expenses are expected to total around $360,000, which is only $10,000 more than was budgeted in 2011.

In other business, the Barry County Board for the Developmentally Disabled:

* Approved a $100-per-year allotment for the secretary, treasurer and chairman. The money will be used for postage, phone calls and other expenses. This is the same allotment as the board approved in 2011.

* Received an update on the Partnership For Hope Waiver, which provides funding for services offered to three Barry County residents and only requires a 20 percent funding match from the board.

* Heard an update on Community Support Services, which has hired a new case manager who is offering therapy services using several trained horses.

* Received an invitation to an expo that will be held in Monett on March 27. This year's event will feature around 50 exhibitors, which is 15 more than were offered in 2011.

* Scheduled the next quarterly meeting to be held at the ARC of the Ozarks facility in Monett at 7 p.m. on April 17.

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