Mayor Dayton King’s proposed budget for 2013 includes a first-ever $3,000 contribution to the Fulton County Office for the Aging, he said.
“It is a small token of appreciation we can give back to our senior citizens,” King said. The contribution would go toward the OFA’s Meals on Wheels program in the city, he said.
The amount corresponds to a request made to the city recently by OFA Director Andrea Fettinger. “She has come to us for at least couple of years asking for money. Gloversville had not contributed because we did not have money to contribute,” King said.
The city is dealing with a harsh fiscal situation. It has one of the highest property tax rates in the county, has had to cut services and is near its constitutional taxation limit.
Nonetheless, King said the city’s finances appear stable enough going into the 2013 to allow for the allocation to the OFA, King said. “We are not striking gold by any means, but our fund balance has increased. We had $300,000 in the fund balance at end of 2011 and it looks like we will be ahead in 2012,” he said. “A contribution of $3,000 out of a $15 million [city] budget is not a lot.”
Gloversville Commissioner of Finance Bruce VanGenderen concurred. He said the city’s fund balance stands at $1.7 million and that a $3,000 contribution is “doable.”
VanGenderen said he does not know yet the city’s fund balance for 2012, but projections look promising. “When we did our budget for 2012, we assumed $600,000 would come out of fund balance to balance the budget. We will use $350,000 to $400,000 of that amount,” he said.
Jon Stead, administrative officer for the Fulton County Board of Supervisors, said the city’s contribution is appreciated. “Any funds from supporting municipalities allows the OFA to expand services,” he said.
Stead said several municipalities in the past used to contribute toward the OFA’s operations. “Due to fiscal constraints, they haven’t done that for a while,” he said. The 2012 budget for the OFA shows it received $14,500 in outside revenue.
The county remains the OFA’s primary source of funding, and it has had to reduce the OFA budget over the years because of fiscal constraints. The OFA’s budget went from $1.6 million in 2010 to $1.5 million for this year.
“At the county level, the board has looked at every level of operation. The board did restrict some of the services and the OFA has been reduced over the years. It has also lost state and federal money,” Stead said.
Despite the cuts, the OFA continues to serve some 5,000 senior citizens and their families. “The OFA does an awful lot for senior citizens and has a lot of programming that benefits senior citizens,” Stead said. He said the program is non-mandated, “but it is absolutely essential. Senior citizens need the stop-gap services that the OFA provides.”
The OFA’s services range from placement counseling for people who need long-term care to providing information to seniors trying to make decisions about home care services. The OFA also operates the Meals on Wheels programs, which provides a hot meal to most home-bound elderly.