City will help pay for seniors’ meals

Published 2:07 am Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Florala City Council has agreed to supplement funding for the local senior meals program by $100 per month through the end of the year.

Late last month, the South Alabama Regional Council on Aging (SARCOA) notified municipalities in Covington County it was reducing the number of meals it funds for senior citizens here by 220 per week, effective the week beginning Oct. 6, which meant 60 fewer meals per week in Florala. Andalusia was cut by 150 meals per week and Opp by 10.

In a letter dated Sept. 25, SARCOA executive director Robert Crowder said the cuts were necessary because of reduced funding and increases in meal costs and the cost of transporting those meals.

Calculations show each meal costs approximately $2 each, so the $100 a month the city has pledged will feed 12 seniors a week.

Councilman and mayor-elect Robert Williamson, who also serves on the SARCOA board, said the number of meals served to homebound clients was cut from 16 to five, and he would like to see the city do what they could to make up the overall difference.

“This senior center is such a valuable asset to the community,” Williamson said. “We have to provide 20 meals per day to keep the doors open.”

Mayor Danny Franklin said the city has a responsibility to its senior community to “step up to the plate — no pun intended” when providing funding for the meal costs.

“We have to do what we can financially,” he said. “Like I said it’s our responsibility.”

The council also:

Met for 30 minutes in a closed session with attorney John Peek to discuss the lawsuit filed against the city by local businessman Charles Smith. No action was taken.

announced the city will celebrate Halloween on Thurs., Oct. 30, from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.