To the editor:
Thank you for your informative series of articles about the state budget focusing on the example of the Department on Aging.
The state and federal budgets do have direct effect on services for older adults here in Douglas County. Twenty-four percent of the annual budget of Douglas County Senior Services, Inc. (DCSS) comes from state and federal money. Most of those dollars are for the nutrition/senior meals programs, which is 90 percent funded by state and federal dollars.
We are serving approximately 255 meals each day (Monday through Friday) at six sites in this county (Baldwin, Eudora, Lecompton, Lawrence Senior Center, Babcock Place and Edgewood Homes). The per-meal cost is $3.80, of which $1.96 is paid by federal money and 52 cents is paid by state funds. The balance is supported by donations, and our agency budget, 47 percent of which comes from the county mill levy.
The total daily cost of this program is $855 in Douglas County. We cannot afford to operate this program long once state/federal funding ceases. We have been notified that there may not be enough funds available to cover all of January, and we are advised to look for other possible funding of the meals until Congress can adopt a new budget.
DCSS is dedicated to serving all persons over age 60 in Douglas County by creating opportunities that allow people to remain independent and active in their homes and communities. As the identified "focal point on aging," we will continue this mission with or without state and federal funds. The board of directors and I are firm in this commitment to the public.
DCSS will continue to provide transportation, community services, senior meals, adult day care and leisure and learning programming. You have my pledge on that!
Marguerite W. Carlson,
DCSS executive director.