Merriam ups contribution to safety net fund run through UCS

Merriam_MunicipalMerriam will raise its annual contribution to the Human Service Fund of United Community Services after one councilor pointed out the contribution was lower than some neighboring communities.

“I just feel a little bit embarrassed,” Councilor Al Frisby said of the city’s earmarked contribution of $3,000. He noted that Mission and Prairie Village were both contributing $7,000 to the fund in 2016. The council did agree to move the Merriam contribution up to $7,000.

Johnson County and 15 of the cities in the county voluntarily contribute to the Human Service Fund as a way to provide a mechanism for supporting services that help residents facing a difficult time. UCS distributes the contributions to a number of organizations that provide safety net programs to Johnson County residents.

Merriam also gives $5,000 to The Shawnee Mission Cares fund set up through the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation to help families in need, councilors pointed out. That money goes to support Merriam residents and is determined by the school.

Contributions are expected to total about $330,000 from the participating governments. That money will be spread among 13 programs. Priority is given to programs that address child care, job training, emergency aid and shelter, child and adult abuse, child welfare and health care.

The contributing governments are asked to approve the allocations made from the fund each year, which was the action before the Merriam council Monday.

Johnson County government is contributing $121,275 to the fund and Overland Park contributes $75,700. Other NEJC cities contributing in addition to Merriam, Mission and Prairie Village are Roeland Park – $3,930; Westwood – $1,260; Westwood Hills – $200; and Leawood – $11,500.