October 11, 2011

The Future of Extension in Bonner County

The Extension Office is not closed - yet!
It has been a challenging couple of years for the U of I Bonner County Extension Office. County as well as University budget cuts and cutbacks have made us take a long look at what we're doing and how we are doing it.

Bonner County Funding Issue
Another challenge we are facing is the consideration by Bonner County to discontinue funding for our local Extension Office, which includes 4-H. Bonner County Commissioners are contemplating whether the county should be funding departments that are not mandated by the state. In Bonner County, these include the UI Extension Office, the Bonner County Historical Society and the Bonner County Fairgrounds.

It is important to remember, the commissioners are not denying these departments inpacts or quality of work, they are very satisfied; rather they are asking whether it is the responsibility of Bonner County to fund non-mandated programs and that includes Extension and 4-H.

The County is administering an advisory poll that will be included in the November property tax statements asking if you want to maintain and continue these functions (Bonner County Extension Office, including 4-H, Bonner County Fairgrounds, and the Bonner County Historical Society) by using property taxes or user fees. Your response to this question must be returned with your December payment.

There will be an informational meeting on Thursday, October 13, at 6 pm at the Sandpoint Catholic Church hosted by the Bonner County Farm Bureau. All those interested in learning more about this and what you can do are invited.

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