By JASON JACOBS
The Clay County Council approved budget increases for the Family and Children, Children's Psychological Residential Treatment Services (CPRTS) and Information Systems departments Wednesday morning at the Clay County Courthouse.
Pam Connelly, director of the Department of Child Services in Brazil, and Kathy Crague, bookkeeper, represented the Family and Children along with the CPRTS departments at the budget hearing.
The main concern the council had before they approved the increase was where the money for the salaries of the social workers was coming from. Connelly informed the council that the salaries came from the administration fund that is paid for by state dollars.
Connelly explained the department's Residential Care program and how they also provide assistance for the local Linking Education to Adults, Adolescents and Preschoolers (LEAAP) program in Brazil.
The main argument presented was how the program's goal is to keep the children within a family environment rather than separating kids form their parents and placing them in foster care.
"We would rather treat the family than just the individual," Connelly said. "If we can fix the family, we can fix the children."
The council then proceeded to approve a budget increase for the Information Systems department at the courthouse, which was represented by Scott Hill, information services director.
Hill informed the council that the courthouse's current phone system through Verizon will expire in May 2007 and proposed a new phone service similar to the one implemented into the schools over this past spring break.
The new system will take the routing responsibilities away from Verizon servers and place it on the person being called. Instead of hearing a busy signal, the caller will be put on a call waiting system of which the call will either be answered or it will go to the voice mail of the person being called rather than constantly catching a busy signal when calling a council member.
The system will also be intertwined with the computer system throughout the county buildings. A single cable will run from the wall to the phone and another cable will run from the phone to the CPU unit.
According to Hill, it will also switch the courthouse and jail over to a digital line service that will consolidate the amount of phone lines between the two buildings from about 80 down to 23.
Hill also said the buildings will receive all new phones with a caller ID service which was previously an extra cost, but now is included in the package.
"Overall, we will be adding a better and more efficient phone service," Hill said, "and the biggest point is that it will bring down the cost of our phone service by approximately $16,000 a year."