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City to waive fees to assist Meals on Wheels

Thursday, April 24, 2008 by Austin Monitor

The City Council will take another step today to help a social service organization dealing with increased costs and a cutback in funding from United Way.


Council Member Lee Leffingwell is leading the effort to waive $10,251 in development fees associated with the expansion of the Meals on Wheels and More facility at 3225 E. 5th Street. In addition, if the ordinance is approved, the city will not require Meals on Wheels to provide fiscal surety for erosion and sedimentation controls. The latter action would not cost anything but means that no bond would be available if a contractor for the agency fails to provide appropriate erosion and sedimentation controls.


Meals on Wheels and More provides hot meals to the elderly, disabled and homebound people, in addition to other services. Last year, the agency provided more than 873,000 meals, made 3400 Groceries to Go Trips, provided more than 2600 rides to doctor’s offices and did more than 17,000 care calls. The organization relies heavily on volunteers, who gave more than $1.7 million worth of time to serving the community through Meals on Wheels and More. 


United Way cut $50,000 from its allocation to Meals on Wheels for the current year–not the $90,000 we reported earlier. Last month, the Council approved an extra stipend of $108,000 to the Salvation Army for temporary shelter for the homeless.


The city has also provided a total of $96,500 for additions to the funding of four other agencies hit hard by United Way’s change in direction. Those include SafePlace ($33,000), VinCare ($13,500), Caritas ($27,500) and Wright House ($22,500).


Mayor Pro Tem Betty Dunkerley and Council Member Mike Martinez are co-sponsoring the ordinance to waive the fees for Meals on Wheels.

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