As the second half of 2020 begins, Saline County is looking at next year’s budget.


After discussion during its meeting Tuesday, the county board of commissioners voted to direct staff to move forward with publication of the proposed budget, with a public hearing and final vote on it planned for Aug. 11.


The biggest discussion Tuesday revolved around allocation of funds for Central Kansas Mental Health Center, which requested more funding than the previous year, the only organization to do so.


Commissioner Mike White, who sits on the Central Kansas Mental Health Board, appealed to his fellow commissioners regarding the need for the organization to receive the additional $11,584.


"I think it would be a big disservice if we do not fund them their requested amount," White said. "They’re in great need ... It’s hard to disagree with that request."


The board voted last week to not increase that funding from last year, as it did every other organization that requested funds, and Commissioner Monte Shadwick said he thought that was appropriate.


"We funded everybody else the same as before," Shadwick said. "I think everybody is having tough times."


White disagreed, saying if everyone was having a difficult time, they would have requested more funding too.


"This is a live-case example with increasing suicides in the community and increasing needs, case loads (and such)," White said. "I still think it would be a good, inexpensive investment in the community."


Kathy Mosher, executive director of Central Kansas Mental Health, was at the meeting and told commissioners that much has changed since the organization requested the funding, with the pandemic taking a toll.


The commissioners were curious about whether federal or state coronavirus aid could assist the organization to get additional funding. After confirmation of that possibility from county administrator Phillip Smith-Hanes, the commission voted to approve the additional $11,000 for Central Kansas Mental Health Center to the proposed budget, noting it could revise that in the budget at its final approval in August if additional funding came to the center from another source.


In other business, the Saline County Board of Commissioners’ Tuesday meeting also included the following:


• Approval for the board chairman to sign and authorize a fee for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute for health plans.


• Approval to appoint Claudette Humphrey, Kevin Ellis, Millie Moye, Susan Montague and Rex Cearly to serve on the Community Corrections Advisory Board.


• Approval to appoint Greg Anderes as treasurer on the Board of Eureka Township.


• An update on the Pretrial Program from Andrew Pellant, program coordinator.


• An update on Saline County Emergency Management from director Michelle Barkley.


• Executive sessions for attorney-client privilege and employer/employee negotiations.