Local governments consider control of senior centers

By Dave Gragg

By Dave Gragg
Quay County Sun
Quay County commissioners will discuss taking control of area senior centers at their meeting Monday.
For the past year, the Pioneer Senior Center in Tucumcari and the Logan Senior Citizen’s Center have been operated under the auspices of the Eastern New Mexico Area Agency on Aging in Clovis
Now the agency is looking to give control of the centers to the local governments.
The county would be the logical choice to receive that control and then oversee the programs in Logan and Tucumcari, said Agency Director Nancy Arias.
Later, similar programs in San Jon and Nara Visa would be able to come on board as well. Logan and Tucumcari offer grant-funded meals at their facilities, while San Jon and Nara Visa do not.
If the county commission approves, the measure would go the Logan and Tucumcari councils before moving forward.
County Manager Paula Chacon said they hoped to offer a better service to senior citizens by combining services and resources rather than have Logan and Tucumcari each running separate programs.
If current plans hold true, the county would contract with the agency and hire a department-level position to oversee site managers at the two senior centers, Chacon said.
The county’s administrator would be responsible for making sure the centers meet the requirements the agency sets as well as paperwork, Chacon said.
All of the employees — the new administrator, the Logan and Tucumcari site managers and any cooks, maintenance personnel, etc. — would be paid by the county with funds provided by the Agency on Aging. The agency, in turn, gets its funds from the state and federal governments.
The programs would not require additional contributions from the county, Logan or Tucumcari, Arias said.
Logan and Tucumcari already own the buildings, vehicles and make other contributions to the centers, she said. Logan, for example, contributes about $15,000 a year to its center.
Arias said there have only been two years in the 19 years she has worked at the agency that the funding has decreased from the year before.
The ENMAAA is not normally allowed to have direct control over senior centers, Arias said.
Until June 30, 2002, they had contracted with the Eastern Plains Community Action Agency. Rather than renew that contract, the Agency on Aging received a waiver so they could take on the centers directly.
That waiver expires June 30 of this year.
Arias said they will look for someone else to take the contract if the county does not want it and request another waiver if necessary.
She said the Agency on Aging will not close the centers regardless of what the county, Logan or Tucumcari decide.