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Center considering price increase

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With the skyrocketing price of food, Butler County Senior Services may have to increase its meal prices.

Senior Services Director Diana McDonald approached the Butler County Board of Supervisors on June 6 about increasing the price of the center’s meals to help offset some of those costs. The price would increase by 25 cents.

“Currently, our congregate meals are $3.75, and I just want to go up to $4,” McDonald said. “The non-OAA (Older Americans Act), the people that are under 60, are $4.75, and I'm going to go up to $5. Home delivered meals I want to go from $3.75 to $4.25 because of the cost of the to-go containers.”

Per state regulations, take home meals are supposed to be full price, and officials are wanting people to get back into taking advantage of the sit-down meals.

“During COVID, they allowed us to do to-go meals. And so a lot of people got used to that…” McDonald said. “They want people to come in and eat and congregate. I'm going to make a statement (July 1) that if they do take a to-go meal, and they will pay the full price. So it'll be the $5.25 for the non-OAA.”

McDonald said the meals would still be a reasonably priced because she doesn’t want residents to be dissuaded from using the senior center.

“Some of the people, they use our transportation to get there, so they're paying $3.50 for transportation plus the meal,” she added, noting that the increasing gas prices are also a concern as well.

District 5 Supervisor Jan Sypal asked McDonald if she’s checked the prices at other counties who run similar programs.

“We're in a crisis zone right now with food prices just escalating and it doesn't appear that that's going to change anywhere soon,” Sypal said. “So I'm afraid that if you don't go up enough at this time, you're always going to be behind the ball.”

McDonald noted she knows that other counties are higher.

“We've always been the lowest price, but we also do a lot of fundraising stuff to help,” McDonald said.

Sypal said she would like McDonald to research what other facilities are doing and report back. The price increase wouldn’t kick in until July 1 anyway, Sypal added, so McDonald can come back before the board at its next meeting.

In other business, supervisors approved a set of costs for bridge work in the county.

Highway Superintendent Randy Isham said that two 60-foot bridges need replaced, as well as two 40-foot bridges.

The engineering costs for the 60-foot bridges are $19,700, with the hydraulic study costing $4,900 and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineer permits costing $1,500 per bridge.

For the 40-foot bridges, the engineering costs would be $12,850 with the hydraulic study costing $4,100. Isham noted that a Corp permit would not be necessary for the smaller bridges.

Two of them can most likely be built over the summer with the other two being constructed next spring, Isham said.

“We haven't really been doing any bridges, I'd like to get a couple more on there,” he added. “We have what we call fracture critical. And we really need to get rid of these bridges, and it costs more to inspect and they're old.”

Hannah Schrodt is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach her via email at hannah.schrodt@lee.net.

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