The Norman Transcript

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April 2, 2013

County commissioners consider cutting funding to Crossroads Youth and Family Services

NORMAN — At a board meeting Monday, Cleveland County commissioners discussed cutting funding to Crossroads Youth and Family Services, the contractor that runs the county’s emergency youth shelter.

County Commission Chair Rod Cleveland said he believes the $225,000 line item should be stricken from the county’s budget. Commissioner Rusty Sullivan said the discussion was not appropriate for the BOCC.

“This is a budget board issue,” Sullivan said.

The county’s budget board is comprised of all the elected county officials. That board would make the final decision on any budget cuts.

“We have been very grateful to the county since 1969,” Crossroads Executive Director Lisa Winters said in a phone interview. “I hope we can find a way to continue this partnership, because, without the partnership we have with the county, we cannot keep the shelter running.”

Cleveland County owns and maintains the youth shelter building while Crossroads pays rent.

“We pay them minimal rent because we paid for our share of the building when it was built,” Winters said. “The county owns the building. We paid the Cleveland County authorities to help pay our part of the debt. The money that we do pay (for rent) goes to help pay for upkeep and maintenance.”

Winters said county maintenance is primarily exterior needs like a roof or heating and air conditioning repairs. Crossroads uses donations to pay for interior improvements like carpeting and furniture.

“About three years ago, we spent $60,000 to completely gut and renovate the kitchen,” Winters said.

In the commissioners meeting, Cleveland said other counties allow the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs and the Department of Human Services, which pays for beds in the facility, to provide full funding.

He said Crossroads bills OJA and DHS for its funding and the county is not in the charity business.

Cleveland also said it is possible that the county would bid out the service to see if it can be done less expensively.

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