MOUNT VERNON — Officials involved with The Station Break Senior Center met with the county commissioners Monday to consider potential future budget shortfalls.
Director Kelly Lybarger-DeWitt, assistant director Bob McIlvain and Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis, who serves on The Station Break’s board of directors, met with the commissioners to review budget numbers and discuss ideas on how to move forward.
The Station Break is funded through the countywide senior levy, through other means, such as Title Three and Passport funds, as well as donations and charitable funding. According to numbers presented by the directors, the center has served increasing numbers of patrons in recent years, although available funds have been getting smaller. An end-of-the-year carryover in levy revenue over the last few years has helped sustain the organization, but that amount has been shrinking as it is tapped to make up the difference in declining funding from all sources. Public and private funding are down due to the soft economy, and also because money is being distributed among more organizations than previously.
“We’ve already seen an increase this year of people needing help,” Lybarger-DeWitt said.
Officials discussed the idea of reducing The Station Break’s services to eliminate non-essential services. This would mean that although essential services such as the home delivery of meals would still be done, non-vital programs such as Homemaker (which helps with housework) and Chore (which helps with such tasks as mowing the lawn) would be discontinued. Chores has already been restricted to clients who meet such criteria as those who are home bound and those with major disabilities.
Commissioner Allen Stockberger suggested examining the possibility of privatizing the non-vital services, outsourcing them to private contractors and selling The Station Break’s equipment involved in those services. While Mavis said they would examine the idea, he pointed out that once such a move were made, it would be very difficult to undo it at some later point.
Mavis said the board would examine the possibilities of privatizing some functions, with a goal of maintaining as many services as possible.
In other business, the commissioners made a proclamation naming April 2009 as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Knox County. The proclamation was requested by Knox County Children Services on behalf of Prevent Child Abuse Ohio’s “Pinwheels for Prevention” program, which is in the process of setting up 423 pinwheels on the grounds of the Knox County Child Advocacy Center and the Memorial Theater. Each pinwheel represents a community member who voiced their concerns and advocated for children in Knox County during the year 2007. From East High Street, the display will move to WMVO radio station from April 6-10, to Fredericktown’s Public Square April 13-17 and back to the Knox County Child Advocacy Center April 20-24, ending at Wiford Rental Sales and Service on Columbus Road on April 27-30.
Community partners sponsoring the display include the Knox County Department of Job & Family Services, the Kiwanis Club, the Exchange Club, United Way, the Eagle and WMVO radio station, the village of Fredericktown, the Family and Children First Council and Wiford Rental Sales and Service. All 88 Ohio counties will host pinwheel displays this month to remind the public that child abuse and neglect occurs in every community. The program encourages communities to focus on prevention as part of an overall plan to break the cycle of abuse.