The Washington State University Extension is asking Benton and Franklin counties to pay for two new part-time positions.
The 4-H program is looking for two youth coordinators to work with its volunteers, as well as Master Gardeners and master food preparers, Doreen Hauser-Lindstrom, the WSU Extension's Spokane-based youth and family programs coordinator, told Franklin commissioners at this week's meeting.
The volunteers annually perform almost $1 million in service to Benton and Franklin counties, and work with 1,245 students, most of whom go on to college, Hauser-Lindstrom said.
"Certified volunteers to work with our youth and vulnerable adults is more important now than it's ever been," she said.
The two part-time employees would work in Benton and Franklin counties, Hauser-Lindstrom said. WSU would pay for their benefits and training, but she is asking each county for around $24,000 annually for their salaries.
The money wouldn't be needed right away, but Hauser-Lindstrom asked that commissioners include it when they do their budgets for 2015.
Franklin Commissioner Brad Peck responded that 4-H is a good program, but it attracts good students who would likely go to college anyway. To pay for the positions, money would have to be taken from someplace else.
"You can always make more positive impact by throwing money at it, it's just what are you not going to fund?" he asked.
Tim Waters, director of the Franklin County Extension Office, agreed that most of the students now in 4-H go to college.
"But we want to reach some of the kids that aren't," he said.
Benton County commissioners said that they would consider the request, but did not make a decision.
Also this week:
-- County Auditor Matt Beaton told commissioners he received two proposals for an internal audit of the TRAC facility. Moss Adams of Seattle and Minneapolis-based CliftonLarsonAllen both bid under the county's $60,000 budget for the review.
Commissioners will review the proposals in the next few weeks and see which services they need.
The private audit of TRAC was a recommendation of a State Auditor's Office report released in March that faulted TRAC management for poor oversight of cash machines at the west Pasco event facility.
-- Commissioners approved an easement for Connell to build a 1,100 foot water line that crosses county property. The city and county agreed last week for the county to grant the easement in exchange for the city agreeing to buy three-fourths of an acre the county now owns next to Connell's community center.
-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom