HONESDALE – The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is working to restore funding for human services programs throughout the Commonwealth.

During Thursday's meeting of the Wayne County Commissioners a resolution was passed in support of this movement.

It will be submitted to the General Assembly and Administration.

With the ongoing budget impasse many programs have gone without funding.

Wayne County was in danger of making cuts to the human services programs until emergency funds were released by Governor Tom Wolf.

Around 80 percent of funding for human services comes from state and federal money and the other 20 percent is from the local level.

CCAP is trying to push for mechanisms that will help “assure any future budget impasse or budget delay does not become a burden,” according to the resolution.

“This was a resolution that was forwarded to us from CCAP,” stated Commissioner Brian Smith.

“They are trying to get all counties to pass a resolution to try to prevent this from happening again and to help restore some of the much needed funds.”

Commissioner Jonathan Fritz stated all 67 counties are working together to get “some kind of relief.”

“It is an outward manifestation of the frustration we're experiencing,” he said.

The resolution explains the impact human service programs have on the county and shares concerns that only 30 counties are eligible to participate in the Human Services Block Grant.

“New mandates and additional program requirements continue to be placed on counties in the face of decreasing state funds,” the resolution states.

Commissioner Wendell Kay said they are trying to get the rest of the funding for human services for 2015 and “even beyond.”

“Three years ago human services got a 10 percent across the board,” he explained.

“We're looking for the restoration of that 10 percent to at least bring it back to the level we were at three or four years ago. We're looking for it to occur over a three year period.”

CCAP will be holding its spring conference March 13-15 in Harrisburg to discuss the budget and human services, among other topics.

Kay stated all three Wayne County Commissioners will be attending.

“We're trying to exchange knowledge and find out what's in every county's best interest,” he said. “We want to try to simplify it rather than make it more complicated.

“That's the bottom line.”

Kay added all 67 counties are working together to try pressing the General Assembly about the importance of human services programs.

“They have to be addressed through the budgeting process,” he said.

“The state charges us with the delivery of services...but many times they mandate a service to us without financial backup.”

One of the areas under discussion is the rebalancing initiative for child welfare.

Kay said if passed, the initiative would take the last payment of the fiscal year and hold it over until the following fiscal year.

“In the short term we will always be behind a quarter,” he explained.

“We are asking them [General Assembly] to reconsider that.”

In the resolution, the Wayne County Commissioners oppose the rebalancing initiative and urge state leaders to find ways to administer human services programs that “ensure both quality and efficiency.”

Kay said Wayne County has been in good financial shape for the last few years so it's not as bad here as it is in other counties.

However, he said they have also had to front “about a million dollars” to help cover services that should have been state funds.

That means the money wouldn't be there to be used in other places where it's needed.

Another issue of concern for the Wayne County Commissioners is the potential closing of Penn State Extension due to the budget impasse.

“We're worried about that fact,” said Smith. “We have discussed it and we're seeing what we can do to continue providing 4-H to the youth.”