MEDINA — Medina County Office for Older Adults is facing rising costs and declining funding, and Council’s Finance Committee has voted to help pay for its hot-meals program and transportation costs
It voted 6-1 on Monday to help the Office for Older Adults by contributing $20,000 annually in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. The money is coming from the city’s electric aggregate fund, which has been used on Christmas lights in the past.
“This will be extremely helpful to stay on budget,” said Laura Toth, director of the Office for Older Adults, said of the city’s contribution.
Toth said her office provided 553 home-delivered meals to seniors in the city of Medina in the month of September. She said there were another 67 congregate meals (meals designed to meet nutritional needs of those 60 and older) provided at her office.
Toth said each meal costs $4.49. She said she expects meals will go up 3-5 percent in 2018. She said she’s already been informed that transit costs are on the rise for next year. Currently, her office is charged about $1.50 a mile to transport seniors on Medina County Public Transit. She said it will increase to $2.20 a mile next year.
The office’s 2017 budget was about $700,000, with the commissioners providing $380,000 and the federal government $320,000. Her office was running out of money at the end of 2017 until county commissioners provided an additional $23,000.
Toth said her federal funding was cut 2.5 percent in 2017 and the same amount for 2018.
Ward 3 Councilman Mark Kolesar and Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell proposed that Council provide the money to the Office for Older Adults.
“We just feel we need to try to meet the needs of our community,” Hanwell said of the city’s growing senior population. “It’s our obligation.”
Toth said her office also receives $18,000 every year from the city of Brunswick.
Toth said the 100 Plus Women Who Care presented the Wadsworth Older Adults Foundation with a check for $9,000 for a meal voucher program to be used at the Soprema Caf￩ in Wadsworth. Separately, the Wadsworth foundation gave $3,000 to the office.
The Medina electric aggregation funds come from a recent contract the city signed with FirstEnergy Solutions. FirstEnergy provides a yearly $25,000 bonus to be used at the city’s discretion.
The only dissenting vote came from Council President John Coyne. He said he wasn’t necessarily against contributing to the Office for Older Adults. He was leery of what’s to come from other nonprofits in the city asking for donations.
“So many other people need money,” Coyne said. “How do we pick one?”
City Council will vote on the measure at its next regularly scheduled meeting Jan. 8.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or email@example.com.