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Trumbull board approves $156,000 to feed elderly

WARREN — Trumbull commissioners Wednesday approved using $156,000 of the $779,910 Healthy Aging Grant to sustain the home delivered meals program currently being done by the Trumbull County Department of Elderly Affairs.

Operation of the county’s Department of Elderly Affairs was expected to end this year because it lost its funding from Trumbull’s Senior Levy for the food delivery program about two years ago, and, more recently, lost a second funding source for its meal delivery from Direction Home of Eastern Ohio.

“Elderly Affairs received approximately $200,000 from the county’s senior levy,” Diane Siskowic-Jurkovic, Trumbull County’s Senior Levy administrator, said. “We went with another program that delivers frozen meals once a week to seniors.”

Siskowic-Jurkovic described the two-year contract to deliver meals with the Youngstown Jewish Federation began in October 2022.

“The price per meal with Office of Elderly Affairs was $9.27 versus Youngstown Jewish Federation at $8.50 per meal, which allowed 3,200 more meals per year at that lower cost to be delivered,” she noted.

Trumbull’s Senior levy collects an estimated $2.4 million annually from the .75 mill five-year levy. Trumbull’s Senior Levy initially was passed in 2005. It has been renewed four times, without asking for any increase.

The Healthy Aging Grant is expected to allow Trumbull to maintain its hot meal program operated by the Department of Elderly Affairs for another six months. The program provides daily hot meals to approximately 100 seniors.

Although the grant will allow the Department of Elderly Affairs to continue providing meals for seniors already on the program. It will not accept any new applicants.

“This will allow participants to continue having their meals delivered by persons they are used to and comfortable with during this transition,” Siskowic-Jurkovic said. “The number of people using the program will naturally decline over this period.”

The Healthy Aging Grant requires at least 20% to be used for some type of food program, 20% for a housing pro gram and 10% used for a technological program. The use of the remaining 50% may be used in any fashion that improve services to area seniors.

The $156,000 approved Wednesday fulfills the minimum 20% required for food programs.

In a second agenda item, commissioners gave Siskowic-Jurkovic permission to send out requests for application for non-profit agencies wanting to provide services for Trumbull residents 60 and older. Once collected, Trumbull’s Senior Services Advisory Council will review them and make recommendations to Trumbull Commissioners which agencies should receive a portion of the Healthy Aging Grant.

Because the current levy is expected to end next year, Siskowic-Jurkovic said a levy committee is expected to meet early next year to determine whether the county should seek a renewal of the current levy, replace it by seeking increased funding or to ask voters for a significant increase in senior levy funds.

“We have been operating on 2005 valuations, while the cost of everything has increased,” Siskovic-Jurkovic said. “The levy committee will look at the services we are providing and the demand for those services in the community.”

She said there are long waiting lists for its home maker / personal services and delivered meals programs.

“We appear to be meeting the needs for transportation,” Siskowic-Jurkovic said. “We receive help in meeting the needs from an Ohio Department of Health grant.”

• Commissioners unanimously voted to rescind an award given to Dawn Inc. on Nov. 1, to do the design/build roof replacement and asbestos removal project on the Trumbull County Engineer’s garage, due to irregularities in the application and grading process used to determine how the winner of the award was selected. The job will be readvertised. Commissioner Niki Frenchko asked to have the prosecutor’s office review the new bid and grading process.

• Jim Brutz, Trumbull Family Fitness, 210 High St NW, during commissioners’ public comment period, asked whether the county would like to rent the recreation center’s parking lot over the next year. The fitness center, which is located next to Trumbull’s Administration Building, will be closed over the next year.

Brutz said residents and county employees have been using the parking lot and the center has liability concerns due to people using the parking lot.

County auditor Martha Yoder told the board she already is in conversation with Warren resident Jim Valesky about leasing some of the parking spaces on the former MacFarland Funeral Home, which Valesky purchased earlier this year.

Yoder suggested she also could get information from Brutz to present to commissioners.

Frenchko noted Yoder should not be involved in any negotiations dealing with the leasing of property, since she is not a Realtor.

The auditor noted she volunteered to talk to Valesky about parking. The commissioner can, if they choose to, find someone for their office or hire a Realtor going forward.

• Michael Shrodek, during the commissioners public comment period, noted that Frenchko during her recent effort to get a restraining order against Shawn Shook, accused Shrodek of stalking her. He also accused Frenchko of repeating the comments on her Facebook page. Shrodek denied ever stalking her or taking pictures of her.

He threatened legal actions if she continues to make these allegations against him.

rsmith@tribtoday.com

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