The failure of the Illinois legislature to adopt a new fiscal year budget has led to the Bond County Senior Center board making the decision to quit serving noontime meals at the center and delivering Meals on Wheels in the county, effective Friday.
The board met last Friday and discussed the situation with Senior Center Executive Director Anna Oestreich. She said most of the federal funds are used for the meals served at the center and most of the state funds are for the Meals on Wheels Program. She said even federal funds, which are provided to states are being held up because of the budget impasse. Click below to hear some of her comments:
The senior center executive director said board members felt their backs were against the wall. She also noted that the board felt they shouldn’t borrow money from other programs because that action could deplete programs that they had worked hard to raise other funds to support. Click below for more:
Oestreich said in over thirty years in her position, she has never seen a legislative impasse that had such a severe impact on citizens. Click below to hear more:
The reduction in services at the center will result in layoffs for five employees. Approximately 40 senior citizens receive noon meals at the center, Monday through Friday, and another 40 residents receive food through the Meals on Wheels program.
Oestreich said the senior center will remain open, as will the food pantry. Groups that normally use the building for activities will continue to do so.
Oestreich said she has been asked about real estate taxes, paid by local property owners for the senior center. While all of these funds go into the nutrition program, Oestreich said the taxes being paid this summer won’t be released until the end of September, which is also the end of the fiscal year, so they are not available at this time.
Oestreich said she and the board members are hoping the state can pass a budget this week so the meals can be continued. She said, if meals are discontinued, it will be on a temporary basis, as she is sure when a state budget is approved, that will provide the funding to start meals back up.
She added that the transportation program will not be seriously affected by the situation, with routes continuing.