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Tuesday, Nov 12 2013 06:00 AM

Senior Center's income from county to quadruple soon

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A group of seniors chats as they play Pinochle at the Tehachapi Senior Center, 500 E. “F” St. The center will soon get $400 from the County of Kern to facilitate the Meals on Wheels program — a fourfold increase. Emily Brunett/Tehachapi News

Good news will come in the form of a fatter check to the Tehachapi Senior Center, 500 E. "F" St., when the Kern County Department of Aging and Adult Services will increase what it pays to use the center by fourfold.

The department delivers daily Meals on Wheels portions, providing the center with $100 per month as rent for the service. After some digging by City Manager Greg Garrett and City Councilwoman Susan Wiggins, the officials found that the center could qualify for $400 per month.

"It started when the seniors started doing some of their own homework and found out that other senior citizens were getting more money than they were, and they did not like that," Wiggins said at the Nov. 4 council meeting. "They'd ask me every time I'd see them, 'When do we get our $400?'"

Garrett presented the amendment to the license agreement between the city and the county to the council.

"The department of aging called us back and said yes, it can be more than a hundred; it will be $400, that's what the cities of Wasco and Delano get for the rental of their facilities for their senior citizens center," Garrett said.

Both officials recognized the financial struggles of the center, which is owned and maintained by the city.

"Councilmember Wiggins and I have been on a mission, if you will, to help the senior citizens center become more financially viable," the city manager said. "Their bank account, two months ago, I think had $98 in it."

"But this is going to make a huge difference," Wiggins said. "And we're constantly looking to help them more and when they advertise a dinner or something, go on down there. If you don't want to eat, just go give them a $20 bill. But they really need it and they're always looking for bingo players, too."

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