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Commission on Aging is backed

April 23, 1997

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

About 45 people turned out in support of funding for the Washington County Commission on Aging during a County Commissioners meeting Tuesday.

In the county's working budget, its contribution to the Commission on Aging would drop from $319,500 this year to $300,000 next year.

Funding was $350,000 last year.

Fred Otto, executive director of the commission, said cuts in county funding, combined with state and federal cuts, have resulted in cutbacks in a variety of services. Otto said seven staff positions have been cut and 10 reduced over the past five years.

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If the erosion of support for the agency continues, more elderly people would have to be institutionalized at a higher cost than the services the agency provides, Otto said. He also said county funds help attract money from state and federal governments. For every 42 cents in county money, the agency generates $1 in federal and state money, he said.

"The Commission on Aging is not a financial drain on the county," Otto said.

Otto also said other counties support their commissions on aging at a much higher level than Washington County.

Otto requested a $388,954 contribution from the county.

A county staff proposal had suggested cutting the agency's funding to $250,000, but commissioners restored $50,000.

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