The Meals on Wheels program may finally roll into Star Valley, but the town needs to know how many seniors would actually sign up for the service.
The council is trying to decide how many vans they need to purchase in order to accommodate the meal program as well as the Monday ridership program.
Right now, the town relies on the Payson Senior Center’s van to pick residents up every Monday, but Deputy Town Clerk Stephanie Jones would like the town to expand the program to two days a week and purchase separate vans to deliver meals to seniors on weekdays.
The Meals on Wheels program has become a staple to some 300 Payson seniors who rely on the program for a hot meal every day.
Qualifying seniors participating in the program receive a meal delivered to their home five days a week.
Jones has campaigned to expand the program to Star Valley for the last year, but has been waiting on funding from the state’s Community Development Block Grant program.
Now the town is in line to receive a $100,000 grant for the program, but needs to spend the money before February 2010.
Jones estimates that if 12 seniors sign up for the program, it will run the town $18,000 in kitchen staff wages and food costs.
The Meals on Wheels program is expected to begin in May, but Jones is asking anyone interested in the program to sign up on a waiting list.
Any Star Valley resident who is 60 years or older and who is unable or cannot obtain food or prepare their own meals is eligible. Contact Jones at (928) 472-7752 to get on the list.
Jones also asked the council at the Tuesday night council meeting to extend the ridership program from Mondays to also Wednesdays.
“An extra day means the flexibility in scheduling appointments, an additional day to run errands and an increase in socialization time,” Jones said. Currently, on average, five riders a week use the van.
The ridership program is in conjunction with the Payson Senior Center, which provides rides to Payson or around Star Valley for senior citizens.
To participate in the program, riders must pay a one-year registration fee of $10.
Also at the meeting, the town approved 12 resolutions authorizing the town to apply for tribal gaming grants from 12 Arizona casinos.
The town would use the funds for law enforcement services and a future town hall. Each gaming tribe in Arizona is required to give 12 percent of its earnings back to towns, but they get to decide what town to give all or some of the revenue.
In other news, the council agreed to change worker’s compensation companies to save the town $75 a month.
The town currently pays SCF Arizona $.24 per $100 of salary paid for office employees and $2.69 for other employees. When the town switches to Arizona Municipal Risk Retention Pool (AMRRP), the new rates will be $.27 per $100 of salary paid for office employees and $1.45 for other employees.
Town Clerk Sarah Luckie said the billing from AMRRP, who the town uses for all other liability insurance, is based on actual past payroll, so it is more accurate and timely.
Council member Nathalie Stroup was not in attendance for the meeting.