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Thurmont commissioners discuss plans for senior center

Stephanie Mlot
Frederick News Post

(6/14) Senior citizens and town commissioners met Monday night to discuss funding the Thurmont Senior Center after June 30 when the county will stop providing services.

Mayor Marty Burns was absent from Monday's town workshop.

The senior center's board of directors said the top two priorities were the food program and transportation.

Frederick County will provide the town with $13,000 to cover the cost of the senior center's food for one year. The senior center board is negotiating with The Cozy restaurant to provide food starting July 1.

Resident Roy Clever told the town board Monday that the restaurant offered the lowest prices for its food program, at about $5 per meal.

Under the new program, the $13,000 one-time county grant would provide about 10 meals a day, five days a week, Commissioner Ron Terpko calculated.

Equally important to seniors is the purchase of a handicap-accessible van, something the town didn't have under the county's programming.

"A handicapped van would make all the difference in the world," Commissioner Bob Lookingbill said. "It would give (the seniors) a better quality of life, which is what we're out for anyway."

Lookingbill said he wanted to help the senior center, but he didn't want the town to become the next government agency that oversees its operation.

"I do want to give them a helping hand to get them back on their feet," he said.

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners agreed that any financial assistance from the town would be strictly on a short-term, as-needed basis, especially because they may need to eliminate or reduce some budgeted items for fiscal 2012.

"It's not like (the town has) $6,000 hidden in the budget," Commissioner Glenn Muth said of the cost of the senior center building's utilities.

"I'm not trying to be negative," he said. "(But) there's no money."

Commissioners discussed scaling back the Main Street manager position, recently filled by Cindy McKane-Wagester.

No final decisions were made Monday. The commissioners will wait for a cue from the senior center board of directors as to what the group needs from the town.

Lookingbill said he wanted to make clear to all of the seniors: This is not the end of the center. Instead, he said, it is a new beginning.

"We're going to make a better place, we're going to pull together as a community, we're going to make it happen," he said.

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