A Prince William citizens committee yesterday recommended combining all human services programs under one council because the county has no good method for deciding which programs should get scarce dollars.
The existing system, Human Services Commission members said, also is hard for clients to figure out and makes long-range planning difficult.
The various agencies -- including Social Services, Community Services and organizations on aging, health and youth -- "cannot effectively determine who gets what and who needs what," said commission Chairman Michael D. Chadwick.
Human service costs have grown dramatically during the last decade, as the population increased more than 50 percent to 220,000 and state and federal funds decreased. Prince William now pays 53 percent of the cost of human services, up from 36.4 percent in 1987.
The commission recommended creating a human services council, a citizen board appointed by the supervisors, to direct the various agencies and approve their budgets. The existing Community Services and Social Services boards would become advisory panels.
County Executive James H. Mullen will study the proposals as part of the budget process for fiscal 1992, which begins in July. Some of the reorganization would require legal agreements with the state and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, who help pay for some services.
Cheryl Overholt, chairman of the Community Services Board, has opposed the plan and urged thecounty to use existing groups rather than spend money on new administrative positions.
Chadwick said existing boards "are a group of people who worked real hard to create what we've got. They do a real good job, but we're not the same county we were 15 years ago."
Health Director Jared E. Florance raised questions about the
commission's focus. He said the group did not spend enough time determining whether the agencies were providing good services.
In other business yesterday, budget officer Kathy Lueckert reported that county revenue is $9 million -- or 3 percent of the budget -- less than expected. Development-related permit fees are nearly $5 million less than expected, and sales taxes and business taxes are down by $1 million and $1.5 million, respectively.
The county already has a hiring freeze, and Mullen said he was considering increasing the workweek to 40 hours from 37.5 hours to cut overtime costs.