County increasing outreach to veterans
During the most recent four-year period the fund operated with annual budgets between $11,000 and nearly $14,000. During these same four years, funds have been underutilized.
Commissioner Lisa Ayers recently persuaded her fellow commissioners to expand the program’s public awareness. Under Ayers’ leadership the commissioners decided to establish an advisory committee as originally required by state law. The purpose of the advisory committee will be to advise the county commissioners on needs, available resources, and programs that may be beneficial to local indigent veterans and their families.
Although no qualified veteran’s request has ever been denied, the fund typically ends each year with $5,000 to $6,000. While local veterans organizations have been advising and recommending recipients of program benefits, Ayers said, “I’m concerned that the fund’s under-utilization may be the result of a general lack of awareness by our county’s vets.” Ayers added that she hopes input from an advisory committee will provide valuable help to the commissioners.
Since the amount of assistance available to each applicant has not changed for several years, Ayers is encouraging a thorough review of benefit levels.
The Washington State Auditor stipulates administrative costs for all county special revenue funds must be charged to each relevant fund. Pacific County Commissioners estimate the amount of time managing the veteran’s fund to be equal to three percent of a full-time employee. Ayers points out that this low administrative cost makes more resources available to help veterans.
Volunteers interested in serving on the advisory committee are encouraged to contact the Pacific County Commissioner’s Office at 875-9337.