Less funding, consolidation proposed for Montgomery County boards

A Montgomery County lawmaker is exploring possible cuts to volunteer boards, committees and commissions.

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The county spends $1.4 million a year in administration costs to keep these groups running, funding that council member George Leventhal says should be scrutinized.

Jerry Godwin sits on the commission on veterans affairs and says close ties with the local government created valuable initiatives in the three years since the commission was created.

“We’ve gotten 50 homeless veterans off the street and into housing,” he said.

But the 86 commissions, boards and committees cost the county money.

“You have eight county staff developing the agendas, taking the minutes, showing up, giving reports, taking the feedback, so they're very staff intensive, and there's a certain amount of expense reimbursement that goes on,” Leventhal said.

This week, Leventhal introduced a bill to re-evaluate these organizations, which could lead to cuts.

“We have 11 different commissions fulfilling a function that six can certainly fulfill,” he said. “There is some consolidation and streamlining of these boards and commissions that can occur.”

Patricia Gallalee chairs the commission on people with disabilities, a group that she says offers an opportunity to give a voice to the disabled in Montgomery County.

“We help out with issues of employment, housing and transportation... those three broad areas have been our focus especially the last year,” Gallalee said.

The veterans’ commission’s Godwin believes it shouldn't end there.

“Commissions provide a low or no-cost effective way to guide our local government,” he said.

A public hearing is set for Oct. 18.

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