4-H safe from county budget cuts

4-H safe from county budget cuts
Rumors have been circulating lately indicating that the Clay County Fair and, specifically, local 4-H programs and the fair's Achievement Days, may soon be history.

According to Clay County Commissioner Leo Powell, the county fair and the local 4-H programs are safe.

Worries about their demise likely began to gather, he believes, as the county commission explored different ways to save money during its annual budgeting process earlier this month.

"I wish that things hadn't gotten quite so carried away," Powell said. "There's not going to be any vote (by the county commission) to vote down the local Extension services."

One of the county's agents, Matt Bernau, decided to leave his position shortly after the conclusion of the county fair in July. Powell said that in mid-September, it was decided by the local Extension board to start the process of seeking his replacement.

"No positions have been cut at this time, there are no immediate plans for any positions to be cut," he said, "but, as always, there will be some movement between different county offices to provide help when needed."

Powell noted that the local Extension office provides a valuable service to not only youth involved in 4-H, but local farmers who, for example, may need expertise with a crop problem.

"The dollar amount for the service we're providing isn't that high," he said. "It would be a poor place to do a cut."

The county allocates approximately $58,600 annually for the local Extension service, out of a total budget that totals nearly $4.8 million.

Commissioners have reduced the budget by $220,000 by cutting in other areas, Powell said.

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