Manatee commissioners examine spending on social services programs

skennedy@bradenton.comDecember 10, 2013 

MANATEE — The Manatee County Commission wrestled Tuesday with whether the $33.3 million it allocates through dozens of social service programs for the needy, including $20.5 million for health care, is spent efficiently.

The commissioners, meeting in a workshop session with the staff of the Community Services Department, also said they would like a more concise way to gauge success or failure of the programs they finance.

“Do we have any history as to, in the last 10 years ... what progress are we making on all this taxpayer money being spent, and is there a better way to do this to get better results?” asked Commissioner Vanessa Baugh.

Among dozens of programs the county funds are those for the homeless, the mentally ill, senior citizens, the disabled, those suffering from domestic abuse, unemployment, children and at-risk teens.

Health care expenses constituted $20.5 million of the total, with recipients including hospitals; Manatee County Rural Health Services Inc.; doctors’ reimbursements for indigent care; and medical care for jail inmates, among other things, according to documents provided to the commission.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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