As previously reported on WGEL, representatives of the Bond County Senior Center testified before a committee in Springfield earlier this week, concerning the impact the state’s budget impasse is having on the local Meals on Wheels and noon meal programs. It was announced earlier this week that those programs would be suspended after this week, due to a lack of funding, caused by the lack of a state budget.
We spoke with Senior Center Director Anna Oestreich late Thursday evening and she said during their Springfield trip, they were told the Senate had passed Senate Bill 2042, which would allow federal funds to be released to help the Center. Anna said following the three readings of the bill in the Senate, the bill will go to the House, then to the governor, who has indicated that he will sign the bill. Click below to hear more:
Oestreich said Senior Center officials are cautiously optimistic, but the meal programs are not out of the woods yet, as the Senate left out some language that would cover other programs that were originally intended to be in the bill. So amendments will be required to the bill. It is unknown now what the amendments will be and if they will be acceptable to the House or if the governor will sign the bill with the additional amendments. Click below for more:
Oestreich told WGEL that in light of the new information, officials have decided to, “in good faith”, continue the Meals on Wheels and noon meal programs at the Senior Center on a week by week basis as they await the outcome of the legislation. If all goes according to schedule, Oestreich said she’ll know by August 19 if the federal dollars will be released.
She expressed her thanks to the many local residents who have contacted their legislators regarding the matter and asked for continued support. She asks residents to continue to contact legislators and ask them to pass the bill and to develop a budget that they can agree up. She said that receiving the federal dollars is still a stop-gap measure that should only get the programs by until an actual state budget is in place. Click below to hear her comments:
The local state senator is Kyle McCarter and the local state representative is John Cavaletto.