Senior Center's Future Looks Brighter

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With financial assistance from the town of Payson, help from Gila County and an expanding board of directors, the future looks brighter for the Payson Senior Center.

The center's future looked ominous at the beginning of the year when it was facing a $50,000 budget shortfall, but with a contribution of $30,000 from the town, an extra $10,000 from the county and private donations, the center will continue to operate.

"I think we're on the right track," Board of Directors Vice President George Schriner said. "We're getting some additional funding we haven't had in the past and I think we're making some good progress."

During their last annual meeting, the center's board of directors received approval to increase the board by two directors, which allowed for five directors to be elected.

The five members elected to the board during last week's elections were Patricia Frisbie, Lola McKee, Pat Pippen, Lynn Richey and Jack Ward.

"I think increasing the board will help the center," Schriner said. "There will be more people to work on projects and express different opinions."

According to Schriner, the senior center has a strategy to keep in good shape financially.

"We think things are under control," Schriner said. "We think the funding we've gotten will probably keep our reserves pretty much intact. We've made some good strides with the thrift store to position it to increase the revenue stream. I think we are already seeing a $4,000 to $5,000 increase for this fiscal year and we'll probably double or triple that in the coming year."

Now that the center is in better financial condition, the board is discussing some improvements to its facility on Main Street.

Although the center's outlook is bright, they still rely on community support. "We are always looking for volunteers to help out with things," Schriner said.

Schriner also hopes that the town will continue to offer the level of support it has demonstrated this year.

"The town needs to pay more attention," Schriner said. "Either more financial support or in other ways -- getting more involved in the running and management of the center or more advertising -- things like that. Maybe they could include us in the Main Street renovation."

With the large population of senior residents and the high demand for the services the center provides, the town, county and public appear to have come to the rescue.

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