Thursday, Sep 18, 2014
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Decision on Pasco senior food program delayed 2 weeks

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DADE CITY — The Pasco County Commission has postponed for two weeks deciding how to continue funding an elderly nutrition program after learning Tuesday that more money is needed than originally thought.

The commission needs to come up with $83,000, not $40,000 as was previously discussed, said Suzanne Salichs, the assistant county administrator for public services.

She expressed confidence the county staff would be able to come up with a funding recommendation to keep the program functioning, and noted that the county has until January before federal funding cuts go into effect and the county actually needs the money. Salichs said the staff already figured out a way to come up with $40,000 through third-party accounts, or money that was donated in some way to the county.

The county also has been in touch with the office of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., about possible grant opportunities.

Several residents who make use of the elderly nutrition program attended Tuesday’s commission meeting, but didn’t speak during the public comment portion of the meeting.

The county is slated to lose the funding for the program because of the federal government’s budget sequestration cuts. County commissioners learned about the cuts last month when several seniors attended a commission meeting and asked the county to restore the funding.

The program provides 14,251 meals annually, including deliveries to some homebound seniors, Salichs said.

Commission Chairman Ted Schrader said the commission would “reach into whatever pot of money we need” to come up with the money, but will await a staff recommendation in two weeks about the possible sources of the money.

“I think this board supports elderly nutrition,” he said.

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