PRESTONSBURG — Following a 15-minute presentation by Prestonsburg Senior Citizens Center chairman Darrell Patton on the benefits of and challenges facing Floyd County’s senior citizens centers, magistrates backtracked from a decision to slash $100,000 in funding from Judge-Executive R.D. “Doc” Marshall’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Patton spoke about the work the centers are doing, particularly in terms of providing meals to some who might not otherwise have food to eat, and informed the court about how the centers receive their funding. He noted that, in the past fiscal year, the centers received $70,000 in funding from state coal severance tax money, in addition to $200,000 in county funding. Those figures do not include an additional $35,000 provided by the county to go toward the salary for a social services director.
Immediately after Patton spoke, and prior to a first reading of the county’s budget ordinance, magistrates unanimously voted to restore $70,000 of the $100,000 originally budgeted for senior centers. The change will mean the centers receive the exact same amount from the state and county as they did in the previous year.
In the upcoming fiscal year, the state will be providing $200,000 in funding and Marshall had proposed spending $100,000 on top of the $35,000 salary, resulting in a net increase of $30,000 over the previous year. But during a fiscal court work session earlier this week, magistrates appeared ready to scrap the $100,000 county contribution.
“We can’t keep everybody afloat,” District 1 Magistrate John Goble said Wednesday. “We’d give it if we had it, but we don’t have the money right now.”
“We’re not cutting them. They are getting the $235,000 that they got last year, but we just can’t keep adding,” District 2 Magistrate Hattie Owens said Wednesday.
According to budget figures, however, the centers actually received $305,000 in combined state and county funding over the past year, and under Marshall’s proposal, would have received $335,000 in combined funding in the next year.
A copy of the proposed budget, which had been revised to reflect the court’s wishes expressed during the work session, but prior to Friday’s court meeting, lists the amount budgeted as $235,000.
Despite that, however, Patton characterized a Floyd County Times account of the meeting as inaccurate.
“I just feel like sometimes things are printed that are unfair to us and unfair to you all,” Patton said. “When I saw that, it bothered me, because I knew the decision had not been made and I knew that you all, I felt like, may not have been aware of how this [coal severance tax] money came through the system. The first thing I read was you all were cutting $100,000 out of the seniors and I was like, ‘That’s not true.’ But I appreciate you all standing true and doing what you do and investing in what the seniors of Floyd County need.”