Elderly services in danger of cuts, COA tells parish
Hundreds of elderly St. Mary Parish residents depend on the daily lunches prepared and delivered by the Council on Aging.
But that service is being threatened by proposed federal budget cuts to domestic spending.
Council on Aging Executive Director Beverly Domengeaux told parish council members Wednesday during their semimonthly meeting that those cuts include all programs for the elderly.
“We (the elderly) have worked hard,” she said. “We built this country, we built this community and we don’t think it’s fair that they’re going to balance the budget on our programs. So everybody is going to have to stand up and say ‘don’t do this to the seniors.’”
She asked the council to contact the state and federal political delegations and urge them to “find other ways, don’t hurt the seniors.”
Domengeaux said her organization currently delivers 618 meals a day to the elderly with another 102 residents of outlying areas are on a waiting list.
She added that she is looking into more economical alternatives such as delivering frozen meals once a week.
“We’re going to do the best we can to keep that service going for the citizens of St. Mary Parish,” said council chairman Steve Bierhorst. “We have a few things up our sleeve.” He said those things may include providing additional funding from gaming receipts.
Before closing, Domengeaux invited the council as well as the public to COA’s “Grand Tribute” on Sept. 11 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bayou Vista Community Center.
She said the event is intended to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attack on America, honor grandparents on Grandparents Day, celebrate COA’s 34th anniversary and meet the candidates in upcoming parish-wide elections.
There will be music, refreshments, games, door prizes and more.
The council also heard from Four Corners resident Eva Rollins on the condition of Elizabeth Davis Memorial Park.
She said a football league consisting of about 36 youths has been practicing at the park for the past 2 weeks.
She said lighting and restrooms are in disrepair. She did acknowledge that additional mosquito spraying was taking place.
Chief Administrative Officer Henry “Bo” LaGrange told Rollins that he would be sure to send out the maintenance crew to handle repairs immediately.
“I appreciate you coming to let us know, and we’ll be on it first thing tomorrow,” he said.
In other business the council:
—Heard from parish President Paul Naquin that efforts to remove the toppled barge in the Charenton Navigation and Drainage Canal are still ongoing. He said the barge that’s been overturned since April last year “is full of mud.” A derrick barge to help lift the barge has been on site this week. Continued efforts will include dredging a channel on the bank side of the barge and utilizing air bags on the canal side, he said.
—Adopted ordinances to provide a $75 monthly per diem for meetings attended by members of the parish Planning and Zoning and Board of Adjustment; and a party wall agreement on property at 521 Main St., Franklin.
—Introduced ordinances on a right-of-way agreement with the City of Morgan City on the Industrial Road construction project; a servitude agreement with BellSouth Telecommunications; the rezoning of property owned by C&A Properties at 2626 La. 319, Cypremort Point, from Neighborhood Commercial to Mixed Residential; and relocation of the polling place for Precinct 12 from the American Legion Home to St. Joseph Baptist Church on Irish Bend Road.
—Passed a resolution on a request that the Gulf Ecosystem Restoration Task Force led by the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Executive Director John Hankinson, include in their strategic restoration strategy to be submitted to President Obama, the recognition that current land loss rates in coastal Louisiana indicate that this a “crisis” and make specific recommendations on changes to current federal processes to streamline and improve the permitting process required for coastal restoration efforts.
—Authorized agreements with T. Baker Smith for administrative services for the Harry P. Williams Memorial Airport, and the Atchafalaya Basin Program and related parish projects.
—Referred a financial request from St. Mary Community Action Agency for its annual $54,500 allocation to the finance committee; and approved transfer requests by Council Gary Duhon for $2,500 to Center of Hope; and Councilman Glenn Hidalgo for $25,000 from the Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10 three-tenths percent sales tax fund to Waterworks District 5 for building renovations and pond clean out.