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Brown County may reverse proposed cuts to Good Samaritan after backlash

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BROWN COUNTY, Texas - Brown County Commissioners met Tuesday to discuss setting a public hearing for their proposed 2017/2018 budget, but they're already receiving backlash for one decision.

Last Thursday, KTXS learned commissioners are proposing a 66 percent decrease to what the county gives Good Samaritan Ministries.

"This is an issue of what is right and wrong," Pastor Ron Keener of North Lake Community Church said to commissioners on Tuesday.

But Commissioner Gary Worley of Precinct One asked at the meeting whether the money could be restored.

"What I'm saying is restore those cuts that were made out of discretionary, like the Good Samaritan," Worley said.

Before Worley came to that conclusion, commissioners heard from Executive Director of Good Samaritan Ministries Leesa Stephens, who voiced her opposition to the proposed cut.

"If Good Samaritan is not one you can restore funding to, I have utmost confidence that God will provide this back, and that we will continue to help the people of Brown County," Stephens said.

In a written statement she read to commissioners, Stephens apologized for her "lack of working knowledge" and being unaware "of the timetable for the county budget process."

"My predecessor, who possessed a wealth of knowledge about the operation, had departed three months prior to my arrival. I did not have her as a mentor to assist in this transition," Stephens said.

Good Samaritan helps feed those in Brown County living at or below the poverty line. It also provides financial assistance on some occasions.

Pastor Keener had urged commissioners to give the deep cut another look.

"If it was a $10 [cut]…that you would look at the big picture here," he said. "The issue with me here is we're called to do something that's greater than you and me."

Former Brown County Commissioner David Carroll also spoke to denounce the decrease.

"If anything that should be done with the Good Samaritan Ministries budget, it should be increased, not decreased, by 66 percent," Carroll said.

Brown County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on their proposed budget at 9 a.m. September 14.

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