Commentary

Rockdale Senior Center had budget problems

The Rockdale Senior Center has been in operation for a number of years under the direction of the Hill Country Community Action Association HCCAA) headquartered in San Saba.

Carolyn Cooper is director of the center which serves noon meals to about 25 senior citizens five days a week at the center in Rockdale, three days to about 15 in Thorndale, and once a week to about 40 in Milano and seven in Gause.

Home deliveries (Meals on Wheels) are made to about 90 in Cameron and 30 in Rockdale and a few in other locales.

Total revenue from all sources in fiscal year Oct, 1, 2011, to Sept 30, 2012, totaled $227,000 (rounded) while total expenses were $253,500, a def icit of $26,500.

The Milam County operation, according to Tama Shaw who oversees the operat ion for HCCAA, was already some $4,800 in the red at the beginning of the year.

In addition federal funding is being further reduced this coming fiscal year, and the budget has been reduced accordingly to $208,823.

Expenses, and therefore services, provided here will need to be reduced significantly in the coming year.

This operation is difficult to explain since funding is provided by multiple sources, multiple communities participate in the program, and with federal and state funding involved, the program is government regulated. So, this is only a partial explanation.

HCCAA is cont racted to administer the program for the Central Texas Council of Governments which is a 7-county regional organization including Milam. HCCAA funds 11 other centers in the seven- county area. Rockdale has the second largest budget after Temple.

Commissioners Dale Jaecks, George Tomek and I are on the board of directors of HCCAA, so we do have a voice in its function.

Other centers are experiencing similar cutbacks.

Revenue derives from multiple sources with the majority coming from federal funds administered by the Department of Aging and Disability Services, with a small amount coming through the State Department of Agriculture. This past fiscal year 73%, or $165,500 of the $227,000 of our local funding came from these sources, 14% ($32,000) was provided by the county, 9% ($19,500) from Rockdale center sources, and 4% ($9,000) from the Rockdale United Way.

We have very little influence on the amount of funding that we receive from these federal sources for this operation.

So the Rockdale Center budget has been reduced to $209,000 (rounded) for the 2012/2013 fiscal year which includes some $20,000 in reductions in federal funding.

This information came after we had already completed county budget planning for 2013. Commissioner’s Court did increase the amount of funding from the county slight ly by $1,500 for 2013.

However, our position has been that county taxpayer’ participation in funding the senior centers should be kept at a minimum.

We’ve operated on the principle that local participation should primarily be voluntary through donations. We certainly are open to feedback from you taxpayers out there on how you want us to proceed in future years.

In the meantime, HCCAA will needing to reduce expenses in Rockdale Center operations.

Cost breakdown of this year’s $253,500 expenses runs about 40% for pay and benefits, 48% for food and related supplies, 2% each for supplies, maintenance, and utilities, and 3% each for auto fuel and insurances.

Beginning Nov. 1 the center is reducing hours of work and will be looking at other ways to reduce services and numbers of meals being served.

Due to governmental regulations, no charges can be made for any meals, all donations must be strictly voluntary. But certainly any donations are accepted and appreciated.

dbarkemeyer@milamcounty.net


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