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Senior center to drop state aid

By Sara McManamy-Johnson sjohnson@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:22 PM

Lebanon Senior Citizens Center will likely soon stop accepting state funding.

During recent budget talks with Lebanon City Council, the center’s director, Patti Watts, expressed concern about new changes to state reporting requirements. She said the center will have to require all participants at center activities complete a questionnaire of nearly 40 questions regarding their personal information.

Mayor Philip Craighead said he shared her concerns.

“These questions are very intrusive on elderly,” said Craighead. “I would not even let my mother fill one out.”

He said he understands that the federal government requires proof of how grant money is spent and justification, but he disagrees with the methodology.

“The way the state is doing it is overboard,” said Craighead.

He said the state uses the information for statistical reports.

According to Watts, the center receives about $33,000 in state funding but spends about $55,000 in manpower to track the center’s compliance and maintain all the required paperwork.

“The cost of that is going to cost us more than we can receive,” said Watts.

She said center officials would prefer not to participate anymore.

Councilors indicated that they agreed and offered to allocate additional funds from the general fund to replace the grant money that would be lost.

“I promise you today that through our board of directors, all that what we do will remain the same,” said Watts to councilors. “Our standards will remain as high if not higher without the state coming in and looking over our shoulders.”

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