The Director of Inyo Health and Human Services, Jean Turner, says the Board of Supervisors would hear options Tuesday for cutting senior meal programs or making no changes. Turner said she wants to get an idea from the Supervisors how they want to handle these programs. Tuesday, Turner planned to talk to the Board in a workshop.
While rumors had circulated about cutting senior meals, Turner said she is not proposing anything in particular. She said there are a number of options that could impact costs. Those options, said Turner, range from no changes on anything to completely eliminating funding. She said the workshop is meant to “generate discussion.” Turner said she wants to see “how the Board wants us to move forward.”
There are two senior citizen budgets. One is the Eastern Sierra Area Agency on Aging which receives state and federal dollars. Another budget of roughly $600,000 gets its money from the County general fund and pays for meals and in-home services for the elderly. In a County with a high ratio of senior citizens, these services fill a need.
Asked about the proposed options, Turner said one would be to change the number of days meals are produced and days they are delivered. She said if the County reduced the number of days from 5 to fewer days, fewer meals would be provided. Preparation of frozen meals is also up for discussion.
If the Board of Supervisors wants, Turner said she and her staff will do more detailed cost analysis. She said food costs themselves have been “streamlined as much as they can be.” If the Board wants to make cuts in the meals program, it would impact services countywide. Currently there are two senior meals kitchens – one in Lone Pine and one in Bishop. They provide the rest of the county communities with meals. The meals program costs around $300,000 per year.
Turner said the other budget from state and federal dollars contributes some money for meals and in-home services. She said that budget dropped from $1.2 million in 2008 down to $700,000 this year. Turner said the County has not wanted to make cuts as these funds dropped. More at the Supervisors’ meeting at 1:30pm.