Archive for Thursday, January 17, 2008

Commission looks into assessment of senior services

January 17, 2008

A countywide assessment of services for senior citizens is being recommended by local and state advocates.

"It allows the county to take a look at itself and see how it can meet the needs of senior citizens," said Blanche Parks, senior manager at the Kansas Department on Aging.

Parks and Linda O'Donnell, chairwoman of the Lawrence-Douglas County Advocacy Council on Aging, asked the Douglas County Commission to support the study during Monday's county meeting.

They said no funding is being sought from the county or local cities for the study. But once the study is completed, the county might need to decide if it wants to fund projects to meet needs the study and an action plan identify, Parks and O'Donnell said.

The assessment would be led by a steering committee of local leaders in the field of aging services, O'Donnell said. That committee has yet to be named.

Commissioners said they generally supported the assessment, but they balked at approving a written resolution stating that support. They said they didn't want to give the impression they were trying to force the study onto local service agencies or indicate that the county later could financially support new projects that might be needed. They wanted local agencies to come forward with support for the study on their own.

"I think, short of the resolution, I support it," Commissioner Bob Johnson said.

Commissioner Charles Jones agreed. "I think what you're doing is the right thing, we just want to make sure everybody is on board," he said.

Some representatives of local senior services attended the meeting.

"I think this is a great idea. I applaud the effort," said Judith Bellome, director of Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association.

The study will examine senior services in six areas: community services, business, government, transportation, housing and health care.

"This is a much more thorough and different approach to decide if we are a good community for the aging," O'Donnell said in an earlier interview.

In other business, commissioners:

¢ Agreed to solicit bids and acquire easements for construction of sanitary sewer improvements in the three southeast Lawrence sanitary sewer benefit districts. The benefit districts are south of Kansas Highway 10 between Franklin and O'Connell roads.

¢ Approved a dust palliative program that allows county property owners to pay for a dust control treatment on roads along their properties. People who participated in the program last year will receive notices about it at the end of January. People who did not participate but are interested can call the Douglas County Department of Public Works, 832-5295.

¢ Approved an engineering contract with the Kansas Department of Transportation for replacement of a bridge over Rock Creek on Douglas County Route 1023. The county will perform construction inspections and be reimbursed for 80 percent of the cost.

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