PICCOA adopts new budget: Plans to reopen kitchen

POSEN – The Presque Isle County Council on Aging has a new budget, and hopes to reopen one of two kitchens in January.

The nonprofit has had to tighten its belt significantly due to cuts to its state and federal funding, PICCOA Executive Director Katie Kuznicki said. This includes reducing the funding to some of its in-home programs, and holding off on reopening its kitchen in Posen in January. Donations also are down significantly, likely due to the economy.

To keep its doors open, the agency laid off its Posen kitchen staff earlier this year and started delivering all meals from its kitchen in Onaway, Kuznicki said. The kitchen likely will reopen in January, and the facility is open for other uses. In the meantime, some are concerned about the temperatures of home-delivered meals.

“Shipping meals out of Onaway creates an extended distance,” she said. “Obviously, going all the way across the county, the time the meals are in the bag to delivery are very close to the state-required four hours.”

A board member will ride along to check meal temperatures to get a better idea of what’s going on, Kuznicki said.

PICCOA’s budget ends in less than two weeks, and the board of directors adopted one on Monday that estimates an income of $580,000. This includes money from a county-wide senior services millage, the Northeast Michigan Community Services Agency and donations. Expenses for individual programs total $543,214.

That’s a pretty thin margin, board President Gary Wozniak said. The agency won’t have much money to tackle any major repairs, including on its fleet of buses. Future cuts in state and federal funding could make matters worse.

To keep within its budget, PICCOA has a waiting list for services, Kuznicki said. Any new consumers have to wait until another position becomes available.

“We’re watching every expenditure a lot more closely,” she said.

Kuznicki and Wozniak also are hoping county voters approve a transportation millage in November. The agency gets reimbursed by the state for the miles its buses travel, but the mileage rate hasn’t changed in 10 years. Busing costs are eating into the budgets of other agency programs, so PICCOA will ask voters to pay 0.25 mills to support its transportation program.

“The future operations really depend on community support and the millage passing,” Kuznicki said.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.