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Local organizations get funding boost from Davison Co., city of Mitchell

Ask and you shall receive. Several local organizations got some good news on Tuesday due to actions of both the Davison County Commission and the Mitchell City Council. During its regular weekly meeting, the commission approved its provisional 20...

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Republic file photo

Ask and you shall receive.

Several local organizations got some good news on Tuesday due to actions of both the Davison County Commission and the Mitchell City Council.

During its regular weekly meeting, the commission approved its provisional 2017 budget, which includes support for six local organizations that made funding requests. If the final budget is approved on Sept. 20, the six groups would receive a total of $31,100 in funding.

According to Davison County Auditor Susan Kiepke, Purr 'N' Ruff Rescue will receive $750, the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children will get $1,500, the Mitchell Area Safehouse will collect $8,400, LifeQuest was awarded $7,500, Stepping Stones will receive $6,000 and the Dakota Counseling Institute will get $7,000.

On top of the $7,000 in support from the county, Dakota Counseling's executive director, Michelle Carpenter, was able to convince the City Council to increase its 2017 funding from $25,000 to $50,000.

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Although the increase does not fulfill the initial $62,000 request from the non-profit community mental health and accredited alcohol and drug abuse service, Carpenter was able to persuade the eight-person board to bring the funding level closer to the $62,000 mark it's received annually since 2007.

In a letter to the council and mayor, Carpenter highlighted the organization's 24-hour on-call service, which has become the only crisis line in the city of Mitchell. Because the city does not operate a crisis line, Dakota Counseling has spent 32 hours on 140 calls it's received in the last year.

Carpenter also said her organization assists the Mitchell Police Division with all mental health emergencies, requiring 187 hours worth of evaluations. And with rising drug-related incidents, Carpenter said the initial $37,000 funding cut would have limited what the organization can accomplish.

"We're one of the budgets that was cut in the 60 percent range, and truthfully, that's going to be devastating for our organization," Carpenter said during Tuesday's City Council meeting.

Dakota Counseling was one of several local groups that fell victim to the slashed 2017 city budget. In an effort to propose a balanced budget, City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein told the council each department was subject to funding cuts, and allocations to local groups were cut anywhere from 7 to 60 percent.

After hearing Carpenter's passionate plea for more city support, Councilman Dave Tronnes suggested the council increase the allocation from $25,000 to $50,000.

Before voting on the increased funding on Tuesday, Councilwoman Susan Tjarks spoke of the importance of organizations like Dakota Counseling.

"My concern, and I'm sure you share this Michelle, is that you look at crime across America and it comes down to what are doing to support the mentally ill," Tjarks said. "So I'm looking at this and I'm saying 'There's a lot of public safety wrapped up in your organization.' "

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The Mitchell Aquatic Club (MAC) was also able to coax some funding from the City Council.

The MAC had missed the deadline to apply for 2017 funds that would be used to support the group's operating costs. After missing the deadline, which MAC representative Mark Wilson attributed to a recent change in organizational leadership, the council decided to fulfill the majority of the club's request.

As part of a larger appropriations motion, Tronnes suggested allocating $10,200 to the club.

"We cut the budgets for the departments 15 percent, cut them 15 percent," Tronnes said.

The Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village and Mitchell Municipal Band also acquired increased funding from the council. The Indian Village was granted an additional $3,500, and the band received an extra $250.

The city's 2017 budget will be formally approved later this year.

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