(WICHITA, Kan.)—It's a place where troubled boys go to get back on a better track, but that public service comes at a cost. That's why the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch near Lake Afton is one county budget item that may be cut to save money.
On Friday, dozens spoke out trying to save the ranch.
Lamping spent four months at the Riddell Boys Ranch and he told lawmakers the experience saved his life.
"Came out with a job, about to go to school in the fall," Lamping said. "A couple of years earlier I would have never even thought about it."
Lamping was one of several people who came to speak before lawmakers, hoping to save the ranch from closure.
Sedgwick County faces a $9.3 million budget shortfall. Shutting the doors at Riddel would save $1.8 million each year, and millions more in facility repair costs.
"At this point nothing is in concrete," said Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Tim Norton. "Its great that we are having this community dialogue. We are fully engaged in this conversation, it is on our plate."
The state covers some of the costs of operating the ranch, but funding hasn't gone up in six years. Some lawmakers feel should change, or other options consider.
"Frankly privitization should be an option that is being discussed, instead of just closure" said State Senator Dick Kelsey of Goddard. "I am no longer a private operator, but I was and I did the exact thing for the $126 a day that they pay."
Closing Riddell is just one option County Commissioners are considering. They will host two public hearings on their proposed cuts this summer, before they vote on budget cuts August 15th.