Clarion County has loaned more than $1.1M to CYS

The Children and Youth Services crisis in Clarion County is getting worse.

As of Wednesday, Clarion County has loaned CYS more than $1.1 million.

“It is another unfunded mandate,” said Clarion County Commissioner Ed Heasley. “You have to provide the service. Our share is what it is. We have no control over that. We submit the actual expenditures to the state and then we wait for one quarter, two quarters or three quarters and, in this case almost four quarters, before we get our funding reimbursement.”

“Right now our budget is in such great shape that we can take the hit,” Commissioner Wayne Brosius added.

Brosius recalled that not long ago when the state was in a budget impasse the county covered the costs for several months.

“At the end of October we had to tell the providers that we just could not pay them any more strictly from county money. We would have been out of money. Finally the budget was settled in January and we were reimbursed,” said Brosius.

“We have to be sure we have the money here,” said Commissioner Ted Tharan. “A lot of counties aren’t as fortunate as we are. It does hurt us however. We don’t have the money to invest and earn interest on.”

“We have lost about $20,000 in interest,” county Treasurer Tom McConnell said.

“It always puts you behind the eight ball but you have to do what you have to do to make it work,” said Tharan. “You have to pay the bills from the county revenue.”

The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania says the state’s 2018-19 budget represents largely flat funding in most lines that impact them.

There are some small increases for home and community based long-term care services, autism services and the Medical Assistance Transportation Program.

The budget also includes funding to serve 965 more individuals with intellectual disabilities currently on the waiting list and to give 800 more families affected by opioids access to evidenced-based home visit services.

“We haven’t heard anything as far as anything being cut from our CYS people,” said Brosius.

The Commissioners Association says the budget failed to restore cuts dating back to 2012-13 to seven key human services line items that impact core services in all 67 Pennsylvania counties.