We define ourselves as a community by the care we show for those most in need of our help – so why would the Elkhart County Council consider cutting funding to an organization that serves Elkhart County’s disabled people? Let’s start with a number — $1,235.

Elkhart County budgeted $450,500 for ADEC in 2014. That works out to slightly less than $1,235 a day.

But that $1,235 caught the Elkhart County Council’s eye again during budget hearings Wednesday. Councilors wonder if they can reduce ADEC funding in 2015 or eliminate it altogether.

The answer to both questions is no.

ADEC — the Association for the Disabled of Elkhart County — serves 1,045 people. Some of those people require care all day, every day.

The agency provides supervised group living, transportation and family services. Its guardianship program assists those legally unable to make their own decisions.

Many ADEC clients rely on the agency’s transportation system in order to get to work and training. ADEC says that more than 200 of its adultshold down jobs here and in St. Joseph County.

The county budgeted $1,235 a day for ADEC this year. Spread over 1,045 people, that’s about $1.18 daily per client.

We can afford that, no matter how tight the rest of the budget looks.

Councilor Darryl Riegsecker questioned the county’s annual contribution to ADEC in 2012, when he ran for county commissioner. Riegsecker suggested cutting ADEC’s funding for the following year, or gradually cutting back its allocation.

He lost. That should’ve established ADEC’s value to the county, but it didn’t.

Commissioner Terry Rodino accused the council Wednesday of targeting ADEC. Mike Yoder, the incumbent who defeated Riegsecker in 2012, said the council wanted to “whack ADEC” in order to lay the groundwork for a tax increase.

President John Letherman sought to reassure ADEC advocates that no one wanted to hurt the agency.

“I don’t think any of us feel that what you do isn’t important,” Letherman told ADEC’s CEO, Donna Belusar. “I don’t think any of us begrudge the money we send you. Our question is what’s appropriate for what we send, and that’s what we’d like to discuss.”

ADEC’s proposed $450,500 allocation makes up 0.49 percent of the county’s estimated $91,830,232 budget for 2015. That sounds appropriate.

Investing in ADEC allows parents and families to work instead of staying home as caregivers, which strengthens the county’s economy. But even more important, it allows those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live as fully as possible.

We define ourselves as a community by the care we show for those most in need of our help. ADEC serves more than a thousand families, friends and neighbors who have nowhere else to turn for housing, for jobs, for training, support and transportation.

They’re worth $1.18 a day.

source The Elkhart Truth