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02/26/2020

County Board Votes to Help Senior Center

 

The Mississippi County Finance Committee held a special meeting Monday afternoon to discuss in depth the needs of the Senior Citizen Centers in Mississippi County.

After much discussion, Finance Chairman Michael White stated Mississippi County was in the "best financial shape" it had been in awhile and it would be a total appropriation of $105, 000 to help fix the current problems of the Senior Citizens.

Justice Molly Jackson made the motion to revise the Senior Citizens budget from $238,202 to $343,202. Justice Neil Burge seconded the motion.

The issue was originally brought up in October when the county was making the 2020 budget and was then re-discussed at last Monday's Finance Committee meeting where Finance Director Kelli Jones mentioned that the Senior Citizens Centers were going to be $63,000 short of budget due to cuts from the state and federal government and that was after they let go of a janitor, who still cleans the buildings when available.

There are three operating centers - Blytheville, Osceola, and Manila- in Mississippi County; the center in Blytheville is where all the meals are prepared.

Administrator Amanda Adams stated they were facing closing the centers two days a month. It was also mentioned that the average cost of a meal is $8.92

It was brought up in the last Finance meeting that the Senior Centers had already spent 43 percent of their budget on vehicle maintenance.

In Monday's meeting, County Judge John Alan Nelson stated their lift van used for hauling disabled citizens is back in the shop. According to Judge Nelson, he doesn't believe they will be able to fix the van as it is 20-years-old and has "ran its life cycle".

To replace the van it'd cost $38,000 to $42,000.

According to Adams, the Senior Citizens have 17 vehicles in total, with four in Osceola, two in Manila and 11 in Blytheville.

Administrative Assistant Barbara Mitchell added the newest vehicle owned by the Center is a 2014 12-passenger van and it has already accumulated 108,640 miles.

Mitchell stated around 25 senior citizens need the lift van.

Judge Nelson stated he met with all the mayors earlier Monday and the different cities will be looking at a way to help the Senior Citizens to take some of the load off of the county.

Grants were another funding source discussed in the meeting. Adams stated they've applied for grants but never had money to match the grants. Several justices suggested seeking assistance from grant writers and also told Adams and Mitchell when they need to match a grant to come to the full court and they may be able to help.

The committee sent the appropriation to the full court which met Tuesday night.

According to White and Judge Nelson, it would be on the agenda to be voted on Tuesday night.