Seniors let their voices be heard

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 15, 1999

A call is going out to all senior citizens in Pike County to let their voices be heard.

Unless the seniors can convince their legislators that the state’s aging program is worth the restoration of funds lost through the Supreme Court’s striking down of the franchise tax, the program could suffer greatly, said Sylvia Alexander, director of the area agency on aging in Montgomery.

"The dollar amount – $15,000 – doesn’t appear to be so devastating but state dollars generate federal dollars and that translates into a lot of lost revenue," she said. "In addition to the lost revenue, the cost of meals has increased by 14 cents to $2.32. Multiply that by 187,000 annually and that amounts to a lot of money."

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Loss of tax dollars and increases in meal costs translate into a financial crunch that would lead to cutbacks that could include the number of meals served, the layoff of drivers who deliver the meals to homebound seniors and even the closings of some nutrition centers.

The results could be devastating.

Pike County seniors are being asked to rally around the program and let their legislators know how important funding of Title 3 is for senior citizens.

"Here in Troy we have an active program that is vital to our community," said Cleo Thompson, director of the Lillian D. Green Nutrition Center. "We want to serve more of our seniors, not fewer. We need to do all we can to show our legislators that programs for seniors are important in providing a place and a purpose for our seniors."

On Wednesday, two representatives will give testimonials before the Ways and Means Committee during special session of the Legislature. On Thursday, seniors from across the state will gather at the capitol in support of Title 3 and the benefits it offers.

Thompson said a group will be traveling from Troy to Montgomery to be a part of this show of concern.

"We cannot let programs for seniors be diluted or cut out," Thompson said."These programs improve the quality of life for our older adults and we can’t afford cutbacks to these programs. They are too vital to our seniors and our communities."

The Pike County group will leave the Colley Senior Complex for Montgomery at 8:30 a.m. Thursday and all seniors are invited to join the caravan.

"We need everyone who can to join us," Thompson said. "There is strength in number and we want to converge on Montgomery in full force."

There is an additional opportunity for seniors to let their voices be heard. A letter writing campaign is underway.

"We will have the letter available for signing at the Complex today and Wednesday and we want to encourage every senior citizens to stop by and sign one," Thompson said. "Even those who can’t go with us can have their voices heard."

The letters will be hand delivered to the Legislature Thursday.

"We need every senior citizen in Pike County to support our efforts," Thompson said. "The senior programs are too important to all of us," Thompson said.

For more information contact 566-0201.

Nov. 15, 1999. 11 PM