Discussion on senior program funding planned

Watson voices concern over fewer meals served at center

KINGMAN - The Board of Supervisors will consider funding for the Mohave County Senior Programs at their next Board meeting. District I Supervisor Gary Watson asked for a workshop to discuss the program after hearing complaints about cutbacks in the number of meals served at the county's senior centers.

The county is required to provide a 10 percent match to state and federal funding, which has been cut. According to County Public Information Officer Darryle Purcell, the county typically provides 12 times that amount to the program but had to cut it back to six times the required match this year due to budget cuts. In order to receive a meal at the Kingman center, seniors have to sign up a week ahead of time.

Watson said he wanted to look at the possibility of increasing funding to the program to feed at least the same number of people that were served last year.

Watson and several other private citizens have donated more than $1,200 to the program to help purchase food.

Watson also pointed out that he returned some

of the unspent funds from his office to the county's general fund last year. He asked if some of that money not being used could be put toward the senior programs.

Board Chairman Buster Johnson pointed out that the county was obligated to serve those seniors on the Meals on Wheels program before serving the seniors who visit the center.

Perhaps the county could create an income requirement to make sure that those seniors with the most need were served first at the center, Johnson said.

For many seniors, the meals served at the centers are their only chance for a hot meal and some conversation, Watson said. "Just because they are mobile doesn't make them guilty," he said.

The Kingman Senior Center is not the only center in the county that is feeling the squeeze when it comes to serving meals. The Mohave Daily News has reported that the Bullhead City Senior Center also has a sign-up sheet for meals. The News also reported that District II Supervisor Tom Sockwell pledged during a Bullhead City Council meeting to withdraw $30,000 of county funds from the Colorado River Regional Sewer Coalition and use it to help fund the senior meals program.