By Jill Richardson
Kuna Melba News reporter
Board members from the Melba Valley Senior center spoke to the Melba City Council Monday night at the council’s monthly meeting.
Senior center board secretary Daniel Britzius told city officials about financial issues plaguing the senior center since a change in contract funding was instituted midyear.
In the past, Britzius said, the senior center was subsidizing employment wages by about $800 per month; with the changes in contracts to CCOA, they are now subsidizing about $2,000 per month.
“Without having a continual flow of income coming into the facility, that is a pretty big pill to swallow every month,” said Britzius.
To offset the changes and lack of funding, Britzius said the board has examined ways for the facility to eliminate or reduce costs.
Marty Nelson, the senior center coordinator, has cut her wage by 50 percent to help reduce the shortfall.
“That’s a pretty big contribution on her part,” said Britzius.
Britzius said the board has done what they can to generate donations, and held sales to increase revenue, as well, but is still falling about $280 short per month.
As the center continues to cover the shortfall, the additional costs are quickly depleting the balance in the center’s bank account.
The board sent a request asking the city to help by absorbing the senior center’s sewer and water bill of $75 per month.
City Attorney Matthew Johnson advised that the city could not spread the cost to other users, but could pay the bill out of the city’s general fund if they wished to grant the request.
Senior center board members also requested that the city explore potential for shared internet service between the center, which currently pays $98 per month for internet service, and city hall.
Several suggestions were made by the council, including offering desk space at city hall for the center’s use, if that was deemed convenient.
Council gave permission for the center to explore solutions with internet providers in combining with the city.
City Councilman Chris Hinderliter suggested the council sit down with the senior center board to review finances and generate ideas.
“If it would help, in order to make those kind of decisions, I think it would be beneficial for us to be able to look at what your situation is and what your expenditures are and maybe we could brainstorm a little bit instead of being limited to just two options,” said Hinderliter.
Britzius also suggested the council and Melba Recreation Center Advisory Committee consider the senior center as an option for development in combining a recreation center with the senior center. The council will move forward in investigating solutions for the senior center.