Grappling with concerns that Star Valley is currently spending more than it is taking in and only 10 people have applied for the Meals on Wheels program, councilors were hesitant at a May 19 council meeting to continue with plans to start the program.
The town has already received around $100,000 from the Community Development Block Grant to start Meals on Wheels. The program includes a hot meal delivered every day to seniors and disabled persons who cannot prepare their own meals.
The cost to run the program for 10 people is $2,000, which would be covered by the block grant until 2010, at which time, the town would have to continue the program for another two years on its own. If more people signed up, the town would be obligated to provide a meal to anyone who applies.
However, with only 10 people on the waiting list, Deputy Town Clerk Stephanie Jones said the grant funding might be better spent on housing rehabilitation, which also has a waiting list.
Jones estimated two homes could be rehabilitated with $90,000 in funding.
Councilor Nathalie Stroup objected to canceling the program just because 10 people had signed up.
“Ten people is still 10 people who need a meal,” she said.
Stroup suggested they continue with the program, regardless of the cost.
Councilor George Binney, who is serving on the town budget committee, said after looking at the budget, they are currently spending more than they are taking in, therefore, “I don’t think we could sustain the costs.”
The council asked Jones to find out if the Payson Senior Center would agree to deliver meals, and Star Valley would cover their mileage to town. This would mean Star Valley would not have to purchase its own van to deliver the meals or hire a driver.
Jones said she would ask the senior center. The council voted to table the resolution until the next council meeting, June 2.
Also at the meeting, the council asked staff to move ahead with paperwork to annex 12 square miles of U.S. Forest Service land east of town. This would increase the town size by 50 percent to 36 square miles.
The council could vote at the June 2 council meeting to permanently establish the new boundaries.
Annexing the land does not mean the town will own it, but will have control over zoning and the land’s future use. If there were a land exchange in the future, the town would be in a better position to acquire it from the Forest Service.
In addition, if the Arizona Department of Transportation ever decided to create a bypass around the town, Star Valley would control the land where Highway 87 and 260 would converge.
The new land would also allow the town to go ahead with plans to expand commercial business growth east along Highway 260, which is discussed in a draft of the general plan.
Besides the possible benefit of commercial growth, the annexed land would push the town boundaries out, allowing for growing room, Town Manager Tim Grier said.