Who will get $2,500 that McMinnville officials gave to a nonexistent program in the 2012-13 fiscal year budget? It is being held by the city, but could be up for grabs.
A program called Sunny Day Adult Daycare was offered by the McMinnville-Warren County Senior Center. This year, the center requested $2,500 in financial help from the city to run the program and it was awarded.
Senior Center director Cheryl Watson Mingle says the program officially ended Oct. 1 due to lack of participation.
“We had one person participating in the first quarter,” said Mingle. “We were in operation for the first quarter of the year, from July to September.”
With the program terminated prior to the actual transfer of money, the funds were withheld by the city and will not be given to the Senior Center.
“If a program ends prior to the money actually being given, it is retained by the city,” said city recorder Shirley Durham. “Because the money was given to that specific program and that program is no longer in existence, it can’t be given to the Senior Center.”
Requests have been made by other organizations for the funds, including the Children’s Advocacy Center and Familes in Crisis. However, Mingle believes the money should be given to the Senior Center.
“We should still get it,” said Mingle. “That was our program. I understand there are other organizations out there that do good things, but that money should go to the Senior Center and the seniors of Warren County.”
The Senior Center was given a city donation of $4,000, as well as $4,800 for its Warren County CARES program, in the 2012-13 city budget. Last year, the center served 1,500 seniors.
When questioned what the facility would do with $2,500, Mingle says it could be used to provide food for seniors.
“With $2,500, we could buy one 18-wheeler worth of food and give out food to about 400 seniors in Warren County,” Mingle said. “Can you think of a better way to spend that money than to feed up to 400 seniors for about a week?”
Mingle says the facility should at least get $625 of the money for the first quarter of the program.
“The program existed until Oct. 1,” she said. “We received federal funds and a county donation for the first quarter, so why shouldn’t we get at least that from the city? We should get $625 for the first quarter. We could use that money for the Senior Center.”
A change will be made to the way the Senior Center asks for donations in the future to help avoid instances like this one.
“From now on, we will ask for a donation to the Senior Center and not a specific program,” said Mingle. “We will include a list of everything we offer to seniors, but not have the donation dedicated to a specific program. That’s how other organizations do it.”
Finance Committee members will be discussing the situation on Dec. 27 at 6 p.m. on the third floor of city hall.