Meals On Wheels Coming To Star Valley

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A hot meal is something we can all take for granted.

For those in Star Valley who are unable to fix themselves at least one square meal a day, relief is finally on the way. The Payson Senior Center has decided to expand its Meals on Wheels program to the town and already has 10 residents signed up.

Starting Wednesday, a driver will make their way from Payson to Star Valley between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. every weekday to drop off a nutritious meal on the doorsteps of those qualifying disabled or senior citizens.

With no financial help from Star Valley, the Senior Center is limiting the program to 12 individuals for now, said Joanne Conlin, the Senior Center’s director.

Although Star Valley has discussed running its own Meals on Wheels program or joining with the Payson Senior Center to facilitate daily food runs since last year, no program was ever established.

In addition, last May, the Star Valley council decided to redirect a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant that would have been used to start the program and instead directed it to housing rehabilitation because only 10 people signed up for the meals. After the town pulled out of the program, the Senior Center decided it needed to find a way to help those in need in Star Valley, even without the town’s help.

With the help of a new chef at the Senior Center that has cut costs in the kitchen, there is now room to expand the program. Conlin expects delivering in Star Valley will add an additional 10 hours on a delivery driver’s time card, but not increase the amount of food they purchase or make.

Normally, after making meals for the 125 Payson residents, they have extra food for at least 12 more meals.

Since Conlin does not want to spread the budget too thin, she is limiting the program to 12 until June.

“There are so many people who need our service,” she said. “Many people are not for some reason able to cook for themselves. We give them a good, well-balanced meal.”

With additional funding, Conlin hopes to eventually expand the program to more residents.

The Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens must approve residents before they can sign up for the program.

Also at Tuesday’s Star Valley council meeting, the council decided to set a maximum compensation of $20,000 for the engineering of the Goat Camp Creek culverts on Valley Road and established a four-member team to select an engineering firm. Joseph Janusz, Councilor George Binney, Councilor Vern Leis and Bill Davis are in charge of selecting a firm based on qualifications, not on price.

On Wednesday, March 24, Star Valley will host a pre-bid conference to discuss the project with interested firms. Engineering firms can submit sealed bids starting April 9. Once all bids are received, the committee will study them and select a firm whose qualifications most closely match their requirements. Then the town will begin negotiating a price, not to exceed $20,000. If the town cannot negotiate a price with firm No. 1, it will move on to a second firm.

• The Water and Sewer Commission presented a completed version of the Tetra Tech Sanitary Sewer Master Plan. Read Tuesday’s Roundup for more on this plan.

• A five-person budget committee was selected to begin work on the 2010/2011 budget. Leis, Councilor Barbara Hartwell, Councilor Paty Henderson, Bill Heath and Wayne Van Horn agreed to take on the challenge.

• The council authorized Town Manager Tim Grier to apply for tribal gaming fund grants.

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