Effingham City Council annually gives the Effingham County Senior Center a hefty donation, and this year is no different.

Tuesday night the council agreed to donate $15,000 to the Senior Center. At the Jan. 5 council meeting, Senior Center Director Jean Bohnoff urged the council to step the contribution up to $22,000. However, the city had already budgeted $15,000 for its yearly donation.

Commissioner Merv Gillenwater said he wished the council could donate the full amount, but the money had already been budgeted to come out of the General Fund.

“I think we’re all in agreement this is a very worthwhile program,” Gillenwater said.

The organization provides transportation for senior citizens who can’t drive and who need to run errands or go to doctor appointments. The service operates on a donation basis.

“With the Older Americans Act, no one is denied if they can’t pay,” Bohnoff told the council earlier this month.

The Senior Center hoped for about $2,100 in donations from those who use the transportation service, but right now, contributions total less than $700. With vans carrying passengers five days a week, Bohnoff said the fund is dwindling quickly.

Bohnoff said the money contributed by the city is used only for transportation within the city limits.

“With what the city has supplied us in the past, we’re still about $14,000 short to make the program work,” Bohnoff said.

The council also approved renewing an annual agreement with Sara Bush Lincoln Health Center to provide an employee assistance program. The premium covers 145 employees at an individual premium rate of $24 per employee.

In other business, the council:

• Heard Aaron Wellbaum take the official oath as the emergency management system coordinator.

• Approved the preliminary and final plat for property located at the corner of Raney Street and Pike Avenue in the Effingham Business Park.

• Authorized publication of city of Effingham zoning maps in the Effingham Daily News at a cost of $5,289. Building Official Bruce Devall said by state statute the city must publish the maps again if any changes are made.

• Reimbursed $9,382.71 to the Sewer Fund from the Capitol Projects Account for design engineering expenses for the Jaycee Avenue Force Main project.

• Approved payment for a new salt spreader for about $3,000 for the street department.

• Approved purchasing two sets of bunker gear for the fire department for $2,600.

• Approved payment for repairs to the animal shelter for $7,500.

Samantha Newburn may be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 131 or samantha.newburn@effinghamdailynews.com.

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