The City Council of McPherson and the McPherson County Commission voted to collaborate to keep the McPherson Social and Rehabilitative Services office open.
Two weeks ago, the office was destined to close. The McPherson and Newton offices of SRS will continue to serve Marion County.
Both government entities were approached three weeks ago by the state with a proposition — if they could pay rent, utilities, and basic costs, like copy supplies, the state would keep the office open for a two-year lease.
The combined cost for the city and the county was $34,000 per year. The city council voted 2-to-1 to pay $6,800 a year toward the office.
“We don’t have a lot of extra money,” McPherson City Administrator Nick Gregory said. “It’s not easy. We were asked if our department could cut costs.”
Gregory said the payments will go toward keeping the 16 employees of the McPherson office in McPherson.
“It’s as much about keeping people and keeping services,” Gregory said. “You don’t realize the programs SRS has until you start looking at them.”
Gregory gave the example of programs that help people who are unemployed.
After the two-year lease, the city and county may be hesitant to renew their payments for the office. Gregory said he is hoping the state will reconsider paying the office to stay open.
“Our feeling is, if the state reconsiders our best shot is to keep the office in town,” Gregory said. “We thought it was important for us to do this.”