County Reinstates Shelter Funding
Officials at the Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault are breathing a sigh of relief after the Oneida County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday reinstated $15,000 in county funding for its shelter.
Executive Director Shellie Holmes said she was preparing for the worst outcome when she spoke to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday and was overwhelmed when the group voted 17-2 to continue providing $15,000 in funding to the agency.
“It was an awesome day, it really was,” she said. “We are so humbled by the vote.”
A day earlier, Holmes spoke to the Oneida County Finance and Insurance Committee and was unsuccessful in persuading that group to reinstate the funding it previously recommended be slashed from the county budget.
Holmes told The River News last month the funding is critical because it goes directly to the operation of the organization’s shelter facility.
Tri-County charges $50 per diem for every Oneida County adult who spends the night at the shelter and that money comes from the county’s annual $15,000 allocation. Holmes said Forest County contributes $3,000 a year and Vilas County contributes $2,000. The other counties contribute much less than Oneida County because the vast majority of people using the shelter (77 percent) are from Oneida County.
Holmes was impressed by the questions the board members posed to her and was thrilled when the majority signaled an interest in restoring the funding. She said she told the board the agency understands difficult decisions have to be made in tough economic times but asked that the total funding for the agency not be cut.
“They have funded Tri-County for 30 years, so to pull the plug now would fly in the face of all of the hard work of previous county boards,” she said, adding that restoring the funding would send a strong message to domestic violence victims that the community supports them.
Holmes also noted that the $15,000 would not have a significant impact on the tax levy. A person owning a $100,000 house will pay 20 cents as a result, she said.
“I don’t think anyone in the county would begrudge us that 20 cents,” she said.
Holmes said the vote reinstating the funding lifted tremendous burden off the organization.
“Even before the vote (was complete), I was crying,” she said.