Federal spending cuts related to sequestration will hit home for Scotland County seniors this week when the Aging Advisory Council meets to discuss budget cutbacks.
Thanks to federal sequestration, $1,780 must be cut from the county’s senior services budget by April 19. A special meeting of the Scotland County Aging Advisory Council has been called for Wednesday so that it can determine where those cuts should be made. The group will also begin to decide where cuts for the 2013-14 fiscal year will be made, as well. $2,670 will be excised from that budget.
The federal Home and Community Care Block Grant, which supports the county’s senior services, was targeted by mandated sequestration cuts necessitating the county-level belt-tightening.
“We have got to determine where these cuts will come from now,” said Shannon Newton of the advisory council. Because the initial cuts must be made from budgets that have already been made and, in many cases, expended, the decisions about where to find the money can be challenging, Newton said. The total budget for senior services is $365,000.
According to Newton, the cuts will likely come from adult day care related services.
“The whole purpose (of the county’s senior services) is to keep older adults in their homes (as they reach advanced age),” Newton said.
Adult day care services play an important role in the achievement of that mission, said Kathie Cox, vice chair of the council.
“Adult day care services serve a very important role in our community, and any cuts there are unfortunate,” Cox said.
Cox said that the advisory council will likely discuss moving funds from lower-priority services in order to maintain the integrity of the most important services being offered.
The advisory council has already announced that cuts will not be made to congregate and home delivered meals programs, because cuts were already made there by the state of North Carolina.
About 60 percent of the Scotland County Aging Advisory Council’s membership is made up of local seniors, with the rest comprised of those representing the area organizations that serve them.
The Scotland County Aging Advisory Council will meet at 1 p.m. on Wednesday at Scotland Place. The group’s regular meeting will follow on April 26.