Delivery of senior meals reduced temporarily to once a week

Thursday, May 17, 2018 5:29 PM
Senior meals are served at the Dolores Community Center. Because of increased demand, meals will be served and delivered once per week on Wednesdays instead of twice per week. Beginning July 1, meals will be delivered twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Temporary cuts in Montezuma County senior nutrition services are impacting Dolores, Mancos and Cortez.

The demand for meals for seniors has outpaced Montezuma County’s budget for May and June, and fewer meal deliveries will be available, said Sue Fletcher, senior services manager for the county.

“Our demand for services has gone up, but our budget has stayed static, and it caused us to come up short this year,” she said.

The senior meal program will resume its regular schedule beginning July 1, Fletcher said, when funding for fiscal year 2019 kicks in from state and federal sources.

Until then, senior meals served up at the Dolores Community Center will be once per week on Wednesdays at 11 a.m., instead of twice per week.

Home deliveries also will drop from twice to once per week on Wednesdays.

In Dolores, 13 seniors receive home-delivered meals, and about 40 attend the meal served at the community center.

Interim Dolores Town Manager Dave Stahl said continuing support for the senior meal service is important, and additional funding will be sought.

“The hot meal twice a week is a not only a health benefit for our seniors, it also provides a beneficial social gathering at the community center,” he said.

In Mancos, the senior meal program dropped from three days to one day for group meals and deliveries. In Cortez, the service dropped from four days to three.

“It’s important to emphasize that this is temporary,” Fletcher said.

“Our regular schedule will return soon.”

Each town contributes to the senior meals program, and the county provides the office space for the program and pays the utilities.

The bulk of the budget comes from state and federal funding. Each month, around 800 seniors are served meals at community centers in Cortez, Mancos and Dolores. A $3.50 donation is requested for each meal.

For those in need of meals because of the cuts, boxed meals are available at the Montezuma County Annex, and the monthly commodities giveaway at the county fairgrounds is June 16.

The state recently increased funding for senior programs statewide by $4 million, and that will help next year’s budget, Fletcher said.

“But as baby boomers age, the demand will continue to go up, and additional funding will be needed,” she said.

Increased demand and costs has also led to fewer hours for the county senior transportation program. The service now has shortened hours, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information on senior meals and transportation services, call 970-564-2772.

Other Dolores newsAt its next workshop on May 29, at 6:30 p.m., the town board will interview candidates for new town attorney and candidates for an open seat on the planning and zoning board. Former town attorney Mike Green resigned in April.The Town Board appointed Judge James Shaner as municipal judge.Parks Committee member Mike Riley reported that participation in the playground survey is going well. So far, 450 surveys have been turned in. The last day to turn in surveys or complete one online is June 2. The survey results will be tallied at Town Hall, and a report presented to the town board.

Dolores Marshall Steve Nowlin clarified the town burn ban. Open burning in town is not allowed because of severe drought conditions and wildfire danger. Exceptions include residential charcoal and gas barbecue grills, enclosed commercial incinerators, welding within a 20-foot safe zone free of vegetation with fire extinguishers, and burn barrels with a quarter-inch screen within a 20-foot radius free of vegetation. Residents have been asking if using a fire pit with quarter-inch screen qualifies under the exceptions, but Nowlin said fire pits are not allowed when the burn ban is in effect.