SOS, Inc. Executive Director Connie Cahoone approached Lyon County Commissioners during Thursday’s regularly-scheduled action session to offer an update on the organization’s ongoing capital improvement campaign.
Cahoone originally spoke with commissioners on the subject during a March meeting, sharing a general fundraising goal of $3.1 million — of which $1.4 million had already been raised — and discussing plans to move the organization into a new site at 1420 C of E Dr. Thursday, Cahoone reported a significant amount of progress, but also said some of the group’s targets had changed.
“Currently we’ve raised about $3.4 million,” Cahoone said. “Initially, we thought that was great and that was what we needed. It’s been a little over a year since we’ve been gathering costs and — surprise — the costs continued to rise. So, now we’re needing more like $4 million. We went to a couple big foundations and got the impression that we were going to get a significant amount from them, and after those came through we’d need about $300,000. Sadly, it’s more like $600,000. So we’re coming back to you all to ask for your consideration of $50,000.
“I want to be there for those clients that walk in the door. We have to be able to provide that safety net for them. Sometimes those clients aren’t able to leave right away because of financial situations or because of kids, but we can plant seeds with them. We can tell them how to keep themselves safe and keep their families safe.”
Commissioners said they recognized and appreciated SOS’s ongoing mission to prevent instances of sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence within the community, but said it was unlikely they would be able to make a donation this year due to budgets already being set. Still, they left the door open to make contributions in the future.
“At this time, it’s something we’ll take into consideration,” Commissioner Rollie Martin said. “We’re pretty well maxed out this year as far as our sales tax budget, which is where the funds would come out if we do it. We’ve used most of that up and we’re only three-fourths of the way through the year, so it’ll probably have to be something that is considered for the future a little bit.”
Cahoone thanked the board, saying she didn’t expect an immediate donation as most donors for the campaign had already pledged their funds in yearly installments, with some set to take place over the next five years. Still, she hoped to get a clearer financial picture for the organization before moving into the new facility.
SOS Child Advocacy Center Director Lucas Moody told commissioners the goal was to start construction by January of next year.
“There’s just some things regarding the infrastructure of the building that we hadn’t necessarily expected to deal with,” Moody said. “We have to redo all the sewer lines all the way out to the street, and it’s got an old boiler system in it that has to be cut out. Lucky for us, we didn’t find a ton of asbestos, but some of the corners have still been sealed with it, so we’re going to have crews come in and take some of that out … The bones of the place are good, but it’s just been around a while, so it needs some love. The cost of those materials, time and the crews with the ability to do those things is kind of building up as we’re diving a little deeper into it.”
During the meeting, commissioners also:
• Approved a $7,100 payment to the Kansas Secretary of State’s office for yearly maintenance costs and software updates to the county’s “ELVIS” election software
• Renewed board membership in the Kansas County Commissioners Association for 2019
• Approved initial appointments for the 12-member Lyon County Food and Farm Council
• Approved warrants payable in the amount of $255,104.44
• Approved payroll payable in the amount of $270,066.49
• Approved payroll withholdings payable in the amount of $198,069.16