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Economy

Fulton County senior center hit by Pa. budget impasse

The Hancock News of Hancock, Maryland

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Usually by now, the Pennsylvania legislators have approved and passed the state's fiscal budget for the following year, which began on July 1.

However, the budget has not been passed and the state is prohibited from making many payments until a budget is approved.

Some charter schools and senior centers have felt the cut.

The funding cut for senior centers has had a big impact on the Warfordsburg Senior Center.

The senior center, on Long Hollow Road in Warfordsburg, lost their manager and food service person due to layoffs.

Since June, the Warfordsburg Senior Center has been running on volunteer help and using fundraisers for the money they need to run the facility.

Clara B. Nelson, President of the Warfordsburg Senior Center Club, said the main goal right now for the facility is to let people know they are still open, despite the budget cuts at the state level.

"We're going to do our best to have all our activities, maybe not as many bus trips, but activities as we've been having [them]," Nelson said.

On average days, there are 20 seniors that come to the center, but not all of the people come from Warfordsburg. Nelson said there are people that drive from Hancock and Berkeley Springs to attend as well.

The Warfordsburg Senior Center has been holding fundraisers by seeking sponsorship of their open mic night and other opportunities. There are other fundraisers, like raffles, but tickets are usually sold in house unless someone from outside the senior center comes in.

Open mic nights are free, but they do ask for donations. They also sell food those nights as a fundraiser as well.

Seniors at the club have been getting meals.

For some of the seniors that attend, Nelson said the meal they eat at the senior center is the only hot meal they get.

The senior center serves a meal Monday through Friday. This month they'll have an evening meal on Tuesday, November 10, as well. There are three days when the center is closed — Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and November 27.

She said one person made the remark that if the senior center were to close, they'd starve to death. Nelson told the person they wouldn't starve and she'd make sure they got something to eat.

Nelson said while the senior center is in need of the money, she understands the schools and churches are also selling things to raise money as well.

"You can only draw so much money from seniors," she said.

With the money the Warfordsburg Senior Center has at the moment, the club has enough to last about six months. Over those six months, they have to pay their heating, telephone, make sure the grass is mowed and the driveway plowed.

When that six months is up, Nelson is going to really worry, she said.

Nelson said those who attend the senior center are all upset because Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has not passed the state budget.

There are more layoffs coming to the Fulton County Senior Centers, as the Warfordsburg facility has already lost two employees.

In the McConnellsburg facility, they still have their manager and food services people.

However, like Warfordsburg, Hustontown has lost its manager and food services person, Nelson said.

Nelson said the senior center has been in touch with Representative Jesse Topper and Senator John Eichelberger in regards with getting the funding for the senior center reinstated. They've also talked to Fulton County commissioners as well.

Topper, Eichelberger, and commissioners are all in support of the senior center, but they can't borrow any more money. Money has been borrowed to keep centers open in Bedford County and Huntingdon County.

Nelson said the community has also been behind the senior center as well in writing and calling Governor Wolf's office.

"I don't know why Wolf won't understand the elderly people need their money. They need funding," Nelson said.

She is asking that anyone who would like to support the Warfordsburg Senior Center to contact the governor's office: Governor Tom Wolf, Correspondence Office, 508 Main Capital Building, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 17120. The office can also be reached at 717-787-2500.



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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015



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