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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Commission withholds approval of Tri-Ko's 2024 budget request

MOUND CITY – After listening to Tri-Ko Executive Director John Platt’s presentation on Monday, June 12, the Linn County Commissioners decided to postpone their decision on the Tri-Ko, Inc. 2024 budget request. At issue was why Linn County pays more per person than Anderson or Miami counties.

Platt gave a brief description of the Tri-Ko program. Tri-Ko provides support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He told the commissioner that 151 people were served in the three-county area of Miami, Anderson, and Linn counties. Twenty-three of the people served live in Linn County.

Platt told the commissioners that Tri-Ko employs 99 people, 18 of those people are Linn County residents.

Platt explained that Tri-Ko operated four group homes, one in La Cygne, one in Garnett and two in Osawatomie. Tri-Ko also has a set of duplexes in Paola.

Tri-Ko’s residential services offer group homes which are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Platt. If one of the clients is more independent and does not need as much support, they will rent their own apartment and Tri-Ko will provide the level of support they need to be independent.

He said that Tri-Ko provides shopping, outings, and whatever the client needs to maintain their independence.

Platt told the commissioners that all clients are transported to the day services at Osawatomie where they participate in pre-vocational activities for people who need to learn job skills and supportive employment services that allow people to obtain employment and keep employment in the community. For older clients, Tri-Ko provides a retirement program.

Tri-Ko provides targeted case management and a medical department that is the liaison between the clients and the doctors’ offices, said Platt.

Platt explained that while Tri-Ko receives Medicaid funding, the county funding pays for the staff that comes to their homes and helps them during the day.

While Platt asked for $82,499, the same budget as in 2023, the commissioners questioned why Miami and Anderson County do not pay as much per person as Linn County does.

According to Platt, Miami County pays $143,974 for 99 people, Anderson pays

$46,876 for 29 people, and Linn pays $82,499 for 23 people.

Commissioner Jason Hightower pointed out that this breaks down to Miami County paying $14.54 per person, Anderson paying $16.06 and Linn County paying $35.87 person.

Commission Chair Danny McCullough asked if there was a specific equation that was used to set up the budgets.

Platt said that it had been calculation for years based on the transportation that was provided, and it has just carried over from year to year.

Commissioner Jason Hightower asked why the amount was higher for Linn County residents.

“Honestly, its just been a historical number,” said Platt.

Platt explained that Tri-Ko originally began in Parker in 1974 and was started by a small group of families and guardians there.

“Linn County has always been very supportive of Tri-Ko,” said Platt.

Platt also added that they do go further into Linn County than they do Anderson County as they have a daily route down to Prescott.

County Counselor Gary Thompson told the commissioners that in years past Tri-Ko had strong support for the program from Linn County families.

McCullough said that he would meet with Platt to learn more about Tri-Ko and the difference in the budgets.

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