State Pays Up, But Budgeting Challenges Continue

Post a Comment » Written on February 27th, 2009     
Filed under: News
OAK FOREST, IL (February 20, 2009) – Even though the State of Illinois finally caught up on delinquent payments it owed the Covenant Enabling Residences of Illinois (CER), director Julie Smith says she plans to continue being cautious about future budgeting.

The state payments make up 100 percent of CER’s operating budget, which is a little more than $1 million, Smith says.

Twenty-four people with different levels of function live at Bjorklund House and Independence Place, both of which are located in Oak Forest. Independence Place is a community setting for higher functioning clients who require less supervision.

Due to a budgetary crisis that included the State Legislature not being able to pass a bill until months after the deadline, the state was six months delinquent on what it owed to CER, Smith says. The state finally paid its bill in December.

Because the state had not paid CER between July and December, Smith had to borrow in order to keep staff and pay other expenses.

Smith says that since CER began operations in 1994, the state has never fallen so far behind on its payments.

The state paid its bill only after borrowing money. History, as well as Illinois’ budget deficit and ongoing political discord, leaves Smith with little confidence the state will remain current on its payments. The state has fallen behind several times over the past two years, she says.

Smith says a $100,000 backup fund would help CER weather future state delinquent payments. To donate to CER, visit its website.

Covenant Ministries of Benevolence oversees the enabling residence.

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