PIKEVILLE, Ky. – After weeks of mudslinging, name calling and throwing accusations back and forth, the Pike County Fiscal Court (PCFC) and the Pike County Senior Citizens Program seem to have called a truce.
Several weeks ago two of the eight senior citizen centers in the county were closed, with officials citing both budget problems due to a lack of coal severance money and low turnout at the two facilities as reasons for closing.
Then two weeks ago District 6 Magistrate Hilman Dotson said if the centers remained closed he make a motion to the fiscal court to decrease funding to the program by $180,000 for the year.
At a special called meeting on Wednesday morning, an announcement was made by the Pike County Senior Citizens Program board to reopen the two facilities, although, no definite date was given for reopening the facilities, Diana Thacker did say it should happen within the next few weeks.
Terms of the agreement calls for seven of the centers to be opened three days a week, the Pikeville center will be the only center that will remain open five days a week.
Currently the Belfry, Elkhorn City and Shelby Valley centers are open four days a week, the Kimper and Blackberry centers are already three day a week centers. The Phelps center was open five days a week and the Marrowbone center was open three before their closings.
Board Chairman Mike Taylor said, “No one on this board wanted to close the centers, the fiscal court put our backs against the wall, the employees have hurt, but the ones hurt the most are the home delivery recipients.”
By eliminating one day a week from the Belfry, Elkhorn City and Shelby Valley centers a total of 5,470 meals will not be able to be delivered.
Board member Eugene Gibbs added, “I hope we can move forward now, but things need to change, policies and procedures need to be followed and employees need to be reprimanded for their actions.”
Diana Thacker also made the announcement an employee at the Phelps center who was employed through the PCFC will no longer hold the position of cook and the Director of the Marrowbone Center retired.
Thacker also said they will be taking applications for two positions at each of the closed centers one opening will be for a director and one for a cook. Anyone will be able to apply for the vacant positions.
According to Thacker the centers will operate as they are currently until they are notified of any changes.
In an effort to help offset some of the expense of the program the Pike County Senior Citizen Program has been hosting bingo at Belfry Volunteer Fire Department on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Kendra Mahon is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be reached at [email protected] or 304-235-4242 ext. 2278.