Cuts scheduled to take effect in fiscal year 1991 for Douglas County Senior Services are going to force the agency's board of directors to make some difficult decisions, said Tonia Salvini, director of the agency.
The Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging, which oversees allocations to agencies that help the elderly in Douglas, Jefferson and Shawnee counties, announced earlier this month that allocations would be cut 7.9 percent to these counties for most programs.
A public hearing on the 1991 budget allocations from Jayhawk was held Tuesday in Topeka. Donna Kitt, Jayhawk director, said disappointment at the cuts was expressed in the meeting.
"It's hard to ask somebody to do the same with less money," Kitt said.
An $8,000 cut in funding for the Douglas County nutrition program, which serves meals at sites throughout the county, was blamed on lack of patronage. Kitt said funding for this program would increase if the number of meals served increased.
SALVINI SAID the cut at Douglas County Senior Services will result in fewer individuals being served. The agency's transportation budget was cut from $10,000 to $9,213 and the community services budget, which provides money for groups such as the Alzheimer's Support Group, the agency's newsletter and a volunteer-visitation program was trimmed from $14,434 to $13,296.
With the transportation funding cut, fewer people will be given rides next year, she said. That could include a person that uses the service once a week for grocery shopping or once a month for a doctor visit.
A total of 481 people used the transportation program last year, Salvini said.
CONCERNING social services, Salvini said the cuts would result in about 73 people not being served next year, based on the average cost of the programs. Last year, 5,389 people used one of Douglas County Senior Services programs.
"We may not be able to serve as many in any given category," Salvini said, adding that the board will have to make some tough decisions in determining "the most vulnerable" people who are served.
Kitt blamed cuts in federal funding coming to the Jayhawk agency under the Older American Act for the cuts.
But Alice Knatt, chief of operations for the Kansas Department on Aging, said no cut in federal funding under the Older American Act has been announced. In fact, she said, funding for some programs have been increased both on a state and federal level.
Knatt said federal and state cuts imposed on area agencies last year, and these may have resulted in no funding carryover this year, resulting in the need for the 7.9 percent decrease announced by Jayhawk.