County To Fill Money Gaps In Budget Of Aging Office

May 09, 1991|By Samuel Goldreich | Samuel Goldreich,Staff writer

The Department of Aging would be able to maintain all services and even expand some programs in fiscal 1992, despite overall cuts in the proposed county budget.

The $4.7-million aging budget County Executive Robert R. Neall sent to the County Council last week is only $16,200 more than this year's figure.

But it includes county money to replace the loss of state supportfor the senior visitation and long-term home care programs.

"I think we're lucky to be able to maintain all our services and not lose any positions in this kind of economic climate," aging director Carole Baker said yesterday.

The most important change this year will be the opening of the new South County Senior in Edgewater July 1.

The $3.32-million center will offer the same nutrition, recreation and educational services as the four other centers.

At the same time, the Lula Scott satellite center in Shady Side will continue operating five nights a week.

The department budget also included one of the few exceptions to Neall's countywide decision postpone replacing old and worn-out vehicles.

Neall asked for $118,060 in the capitalbudget for five replacement vans for the senior transportation program. No vans were replaced in fiscal 1991, although there were three in the budget.

At the aging budget hearing last week, Councilwoman Maureen Lamb, D-Annapolis, questioned reductions in county contributions to many department programs.

"You have so many county cash decreases," she said. "The seniors don't seem to be doing that well and I'm concerned about it."

But overall, Baker said that by juggling money from one program to another, services won't suffer.

For example, the popular senior picnic will not be held this summer. But the $35,000 spent on the event last year will be shifted to direct services for frail and needy seniors.

The department also cut about $20,000 for an annual banquet to recognize volunteers, which has been held the last two years at Le Fontaine Bleu. The event will be replaced with smaller celebrations run by various programs.

"They're all going to do their own recognition and they will raise they're own moneyin the community," Baker said.

A public hearing on the county budget scheduled for May 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Old Mill High School.

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