MONTPELIER — The Williams County Mayors Association heard of a budget shortfall in the prosecutor’s office and about the United Way of Williams County during its monthly meeting on Wednesday.
Katie Zartman, Williams County prosecutor, said the victim assistance budget is seeing a shortfall of $15,584.22 and hoped she might be able to get some help from the local municipalities, as it’s a service that affects the entire county.
“What they do is they’re victim advocates on criminal cases throughout Williams County,” she said. “They don’t just work with our office, they work with (Bryan) City Attorney Rhonda Fisher, who prosecutes the misdemeanors for Williams County.”
They provide the victim notifications required by the Ohio Constitution and the Ohio Revised Code, among many other duties, such as responding to fires, hospitals, sexual assault team clinics and more.
Jodi Sanders, victim assistance director, said they deal with at least 200 cases a year, though Zartman thought it was closer to 400 or 500.
The problem is 80% of the service is funded from the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and that funding was cut. They asked for $101,237.17 but only received $67,878.71. Zartman offered to make up part of the loss to the tune of $25,000, but they are still short.
Zartman said she met with Bryan Mayor Carrie Schlade and would take the issue to council for possible help in funding.
Schlade encouraged everyone to bring up the issue with state representatives and officials.
“I had a family member who was a victim at one point and Jodi was really great about calling me and giving me information I’m not sure I would have had,” she said. “Any of us or any of our citizens could become a victim tomorrow and they’re the people who step in after the police deescalate the situation.”
Chasity Yoder, executive director of the United Way of Williams County, also spoke at the meeting about the organization.
She cleared up a few misconceptions people have about United Way.
“A lot of people call our office and say, ‘Hey, someone told me you can help, give me money.’ No, we can’t,” Yoder said. “What we do is we help fund organizations and programs in the county that help individuals.”
She said there are three main focus points of the United Way: health, education and financial stability.
Programs here include the Summer Food Service Program through the Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission, the Let Me Play Fund, Mental Health First Aid through the Maumee Valley Guidance Center and the We Care Cabinet.
Another is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which offers any child from birth through 5 years old a book every month. Any child can enroll in that program, no matter the financial need of the family.
“That’s a great way to start that passion for reading,” Yoder said. “My two youngest children have been enrolled in that program and just the excitement they get with all the books coming in the mail, ‘Mommy, mommy, I want to read the book.’”
The United Way is funded entirely through donations.
More information can be found online at https://www.unitedwaywc.org.