Supervisor withdraws support for meals aid

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

Calaveras County District 2 Supervisor Paul Stein told his fellow board members yesterday he no longer supports giving the Area 12 Agency on Aging $24,000 to help pay for senior meals.

Two weeks ago, Stein and three other supervisors voted to pay the agency its "overmatch" money, which is used to fund extra home-delivered meals.

At yesterday's board meeting, however, Stein said he is changing his vote because $26,000 in donations from the county last year didn't go through proper channels and now should be considered the overmatch payment.

Supervisors for weeks have been trying to figure out how to cover the $7,000-per-month loss Area 12's Calaveras senior meals program faces. Area 12 took over the meals program last summer, and is now $43,000 in debt.

Because the overmatch money is set aside to take care of meals for which the agency can't plan for, the money cannot be used to pay down the deficit.

"I don't see the point of taking money from this board and putting it into an overmatch when we can't pay these bills," Stein said.

Two weeks ago, District 5 Supervisor Victoria Erickson said almost the same thing when she was the board's lone no-vote on giving the overmatch money.

Stein's decision won't change the votes of District 3 Supervisor Merita Callaway or District 1 Supervisor Lucy Thein. District 4 Supervisor Tom Tryon also previously supported giving the overmatch funding.

But the issue of helping cover the costs of the agency's meals program will come before the board at next week's meeting.

Because of Stein's announcement, board members agreed to revisit the overmatch issue. The board also will hold a public hearing to determine if federal Community Development Block Grants can be used to pay down the Area 12 deficit.

The nonprofit agency oversees meals programs in other counties, including Tuolumne. Those programs are not in fiscal trouble. However, Area 12 is the fifth nonprofit to try running the Calaveras program. All of its predecessors also faced money woes.

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The Union Democrat
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