The Hopkins County Fiscal Court has agreed to assist the Hopkins County Child Support Unit in their financial troubles by cutting the unit’s rent in half following a Budget, Audits and Personnel Committee meeting on Tuesday.
According to Hillary Lantrip, the Child Support Director and an Assistant Hopkins County Attorney, the rent reduction will last for the rest of the current fiscal year which will span from December to June 2021.
Currently, the unit pays $2,280 for their space at the Historic Hopkins County Courthouse. Half of that will be $1,140.
Lantrip said the unit has a looming 8% budget cut coming up in the next fiscal year that could equal a $38,000 cut and could cause the unit to lose an employee.
Lantrip presented to the court a request to participate in a federal matching program that would reimburse the fiscal court for their aid.
“We are asking for $73,720 in funding,” said Lantrip. “We would be able to reimburse the Fiscal Court 66% of the full amount of funding, equaling $48,655.20 leaving an actual investment of $25,064.80 during a full fiscal year.”
Lantrip added that the reimbursement would be monthly.
“We will come back starting in March and April and talk about the federal matching program that I have presented to the court and see what they can contribute to help us cover that upcoming budget cut next year,” said Lantrip.
The rent reduction is assisting the unit in covering the cost of having both an outgoing assistant county attorney and an incoming county attorney and keeping supplies in stock to keep up with COVID-19 recommendations.
“It has given us a little bump to help us get through the next fiscal year,” said Lantrip. “Hopefully we can come to an agreement with our new fiscal year as far as the federal matching program.”
Hopkins County Judge-Executive Jack Whitfield Jr. commended the unit for their work being ranked 17th out of 120 counties in the state bringing in $5,226,888.67 in support payments in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
“We look to help our things that are county wide especially things that help out with kids,” said Whitfield. “The child support for years … have been one of the top units in the state and it is important for the kids to get that support money, so they have all the necessities.”