Council doubles funding for struggling Osceola Senior Center

Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 2:41 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 2:47 p.m. CDT
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OST photo by KYLE WILSON Osceola City Council voted unanimously last week to increase the Osceola Senior Center budget from $3,000 to $6,000 per fiscal year.

Ask, and you shall receive.

Last month, Osceola City Councilman Glenn Schaff said the council never gets a report from the local animal shelter. So, he proposed taking $1,000 in monthly funding away from the shelter and giving that money to the Osceola Senior Center — which is currently struggling financially.

Schaff’s proposal was not approved last month because other council members — like Dr. George Fotiadis, David Walkup and Sarah Truitt — believed animal shelter staff should be contacted and allowed to make a presentation before a decision like that was made.

That’s what happened Tuesday.

Joy Durham, animal shelter manager, made a presentation to the council. She provided the council a detailed expense report, and Durham also updated them on the shelter’s current services and upcoming events.

“This report looks very good,” Schaff said, “and I’d like to keep these reports coming. If you can do that, I have no objections to leave (your) money where it is at. Thank you for coming forward.”

Durham agreed to issue a monthly report to the city council in the future. The council then agreed to continue funding the shelter at $2,000 per month.

Senior center

But, what about the struggling Osceola Senior Center?

Last month, the council approved waiving sewer charges at the senior center. Since then, water fees have also been waived. It’s estimated eliminating those two costs will save the senior center about $1,000 annually.

The senior center received more good news Tuesday evening.

Currently, the city budgets $3,000 annually toward the senior center. Tuesday, Schaff made a motion to increase that budget to $6,000 per fiscal year and issue two separate payments. That payment system would allow the council the chance to review the senior center’s financial situation every six months.

“We looked at like-sized communities,” Walkup said, “and (their funding for senior centers) ranged from $3,000 to $8,000. So, we are in the ballpark. I see Glenn’s motion to be appropriate.”

The council voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Ty Wheeler, Osceola city administrator/clerk, said the extra money budgeted toward the senior center will come out of the contributions line item in the city’s general basic fund.

Eleanor Gage, president of the Osceola Senior Center board, said Wednesday members are appreciative of the city’s decision to increase their funding.

“We are so thankful,” Gage said. “We were running behind financially and this money will certainly help. The senior center means a great deal to a lot of people. It allows seniors, some of them that are lonely, to get out and meet with friends and get a hot meal. We are very happy about the council’s decision.”

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