By Mike Kruzman /

A Livingston County specialty court is receiving a grant that will help them to return to its pre-pandemic level of service.

The County Board of Commissioners, at their meeting Monday, accepted the federal award from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, or BJA, for the Adult Drug Court. The four year grant will be for a total of $278,660. According to a memo to Commissioners from Livingston County Specialty Courts and Programs Administrator Sara Applegate, the money will be utilized to fund existing staff wages and fringes, treatment, drug and alcohol testing, training, and other program expenses necessary to operate and expand the Adult Drug Court.

When Commissioner Jay Drick asked Applegate what that expansion meant, she explained that due to budget cuts last year they got down to low numbers and had to put a hold on all referrals. Applegate said that in her 4 years in this position, they usually had between 80 to 90 Drug Court participants, but that number recently dropped to 40. This grant will help them get back up to their original number by the end of their fiscal year.

The grant requires 25-percent in-kind match that will be met by utilizing the value of services provided by the therapists, public defender representative, and prosecutor representatives on the Adult Drug Court team.

Applegate said that they also received more good news from State Court Administrative Office. She said she applied for a state BJA grant in case they didn’t receive the federal one, with the understanding from the SCAO that if they received the federal grant they couldn’t accept the state one. However, Applegate said after she told the SCAO mre about how each grant would be utilized for a different scope, they made a decision to let them keep both grants. Applegate projected that the additional state funding will help them bring on another 10-20 participants into the program.

The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of accepting the grant award.