LaPorte council to decide on money for service agency next month

2014-03-27T00:00:00Z 2014-03-27T19:46:39Z LaPorte council to decide on money for service agency next monthStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 27, 2014 12:00 am  • 

LAPORTE | The LaPorte County Council is not sold on using tax dollars to keep alive rides to the doctor and other services for hundreds of elderly and disabled.

The council Monday night decided to study other financial options for a take over of the LaPorte County Council on Aging and decide the issue at its April 7 meeting.

The $100,000 is being sought from the county as a one-time contribution to help fund a take over by Michiana Resources and Harmony House/Court Appointed Special Advocate or (CASA). Supporters of the request said the money is needed until the end of the year when both organizations should become self sufficient with the services now provided by the Council on Aging.

Kristine Harlow, director of the Adult Protective Services division of the LaPorte County Prosecutor's Office, said the money is a matter of life and death for many clients relying on mostly free rides for medical procedures like kidney dialysis.

"Who's going to transport these people for their life saving medical appointments," said Harlow.

Members of the council agree, but some members like Rich Mrozinski of Rolling Prairie wonder why hospitals and other medical facilities which benefit don't contribute more to relieve the burden on taxpayers.

"The Council on Aging had been mismanaged and losing money for years and now that they're ready to fall off the cliff they're coming to the county," said Mrozinski.

The Council on Aging is operating until April 15 under a 60-day extension funded by a $30,000 contribution from the prosecutor's office. The council relies on federal grants and other sources like private contributions.

Councilman Earl Cunningham gave possible options like additional money from the prosecutor's office for an additional 90-day extension to provide more time for coming up with a solution other than just tax dollars. He said more money could be sought from the medical institutions to help shore up finances for the services.

Harlow said if transportation stops, the cost to the county will be greater from more ambulance and other emergency calls that can be avoided by making sure patients reach their doctors appointments.

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