CAIRO — Drastic cuts will need to be made to several local programs if a vital Grady County fund is to avoid running out of money, according to County Administrator Buddy Johnson.
The Drug Abuse Treatment and Education (DATE) fund's primary purpose is to help support the regional drug court, but revenues also go to local education programs including Drug Free Grady and the Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club.
Johnson said that drug court receipts, the primary source of income for the fund, have decreased over the past four years as the regulations regarding the collection of probation fees have changed.
"The probation departments are not able to collect those fees as efficiently as they used to," Johnson said.
Receipts this year are expected to total less than $18,000 — just 44.53 percent of the court's 2016 haul.
A series of proposed cuts over the next year and a half will leave the DATE fund with only drug court expenses by 2020.
This year's cuts would eliminate the county's entire $20,000 contribution to the Boys & Girls Club and another $10,000 from Drug Free Grady, leaving that group with just $5,000.
The county is currently seeking other avenues where it can keep giving money to those programs, but may have to drop them altogether if they are unable to locate another source.
"We're going to need to seek out other options to try to find ways to fund those other projects because the DATE fund is not going to be a viable source any longer," Johnson said. "The money's just not coming into that fund as it used to."
With the county's primary focus being to ensure that the drug court remains functioning, Johnson said the change in funding for Drug Free Grady and the Boys & Girls Club will likely be permanent.
"We do not see anything in the future that shows that this fund is going to replenish itself," Johnson said.
Income to the DATE fund is controlled by what the court systems bring in through drug and alcohol cases and is outside outside the county's influence.