Bay County's budget for Fiscal Year 2014 sets aside funds for more than the traditional government services such as public works, utilities and law enforcement.
Included in the $242 million spending plan is $755,658 to be shared by 13 agencies that provide services ranging from health care to economic development and child welfare.
Among them is the St. Andrew Community Medical Center. The clinic is caring for patients that can't afford health care. "We've had patients say 'hey, you saved our life,'" said Dr. Delbert Summey, president of the clinic's executive board of directors. "We see a lot of individuals that have chronic health problems but no way of having those chronic health problems met."
Summey said the clinic, a mission of St. Andrew Baptist Church, provides primary care and pharmacy services to about 2,500 patients. To qualify, the patient must be a Bay County citizen at least 18 years old, have no access to health insurance and earn a gross monthly income equal to or less than 200% of the federal poverty guideline.
Up to 40,000 local citizens meet those criteria and the clinic has a 300 person waiting list for services, Summey said. "We're making a difference but many more people in Bay County need the kind of services that we're providing, he said.
The county's $50,000 contribution will be used to hire a nurse practitioner and increase the case load by 500-600 patients, Summey said.
Another agency set to receive county funds is Second Chance of Northwest Florida, which helps adults who have suffered brain injuries reach their full potential through social encouragement, training and education.
"When an individual sustains a brain injury, either traumatic injury or acquired injury, it's not a matter of recovering the old life," said Jon Capps, executive director. "It's a matter of starting a new life, a second chance life."
The agency currently serves 15-20 "members" three days a week and will use the county's $8,000 contribution to expand to five days. "Without it, we could not double our capacity to see people here in Bay County," Capps said.
Agencies receiving county funds in FY 2013-14 are:
Tri County Community Council $5,000
Chemical Addictions Recovery Effort $4,060
Bay County Economic Development Alliance $109, 740
Bay Defense Alliance $9,000
Bay County Transportation Planning Organization $48,727
Second Chance of Northwest Florida $8,000
St. Andrew Bay Center $9,251
Bay County Council on Aging $105,880
Life Management Center (Baker Act) $321,000
Gulf Coast Children's Advocacy Center $70,000
St. Andrew Community Medical Center $50,000
Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida $15,000