One of the things I most admired about the late Councilman Bill Schultz was his commitment to his principles which included using the power of government to help people. Both personally and professionally Bill was in the business of helping people and he carried that value with him into his job as City Councilman. I have fond memories of conversations with Bill where he made it clear that City Social Service funding had to protected at all costs despite our financial constraints. Bill was always fair about it though and when money got really tight he conceded some reductions in funding but he would argue until his last breath that counties and townships fill potholes but Kent separated itself by its comitment to helping the disadvantaged so we must never lose sight of that distinction. Which is why to this day we still set aside $100,000 a year to support social service agencies in Kent. Here’s who we support and why.
These funding levels are essentially the same as last year — which reflects our less than favorable financial status — but we worked hard to hold true to our commitments and I’m sure Bill is smiling down upon us for doing so.
Social Service funding is an interesting test of a city government. I’ve worked in cities that had long-standing commitments to fund social services and I’ve worked where social services were considered extra-curricular to the core function of government. As City Manager, I’ll work hard to manage whatever programs and services the City Council and the community desire, so I don’t have a preference for our level of social service commitment.
It’s a balance every City has to decide for itself and I’m proud that we’ve been able to continue to fulfill these desired community services at times when people really need our help.