County hears benefits of Community Action

ESCANABA — May is Community Action Month, and representatives of the Menominee-Delta-Schoolcraft Community Action Agency (MDSCAA) attended the Delta County Board of Commissioners’ regular meeting Tuesday to deliver a presentation on the services provided by the agency.

“We wanted to come today to give the board an update on our services and talk about our senior services particularly,” MDSCAA Executive Director Julie Moberg said.

Moberg began the presentation by going over MDSCAA’s mission statement (“Empower and assist people to improve and sustain their quality of life through nurturing, education, housing, nutrition, volunteerism, in-home/support services, and advocacy”) and the services they provide. Among these is the Early Childhood Program, which supports the healthy development of young children.

“Of course, that focuses on at-risk families that have children birth to age five,” she said.

Other MDSCAA services and programs are the Client Service Center, the Walk for Warmth Fundraiser, the Home Weatherization and Rehabilitation Program, and various senior volunteer programs. Moberg said the latter group of programs includes the Senior Companion Program, Foster Grandparents, and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.

Later in the presentation, Senior Services Program Manager Sally Kidd gave commissioners a look at the services provided to area seniors by MDSCAA. These include the agency’s senior centers, which are located in Escanaba, Gladstone, Rapid River, and Rock.

These centers offer health and education programs, information on Medicare and Medicaid, and more.

“They do serve as focal points in the communities,” Kidd said.

MDSCAA is also involved with the Senior Citizens’ Nutrition Program. Kidd said this program consists of two primary components — congregate meals served at senior centers and nutrition sites and home-delivered meals. In the 2015-16 fiscal year, Kidd said 29,826 congregate meals were served in Delta County and 76,445 home-delivered meals were served in the county.

Both elements of the program play important roles beyond simply feeding seniors, Kidd said. The congregate meal program gives participating seniors an opportunity to socialize, and the home-delivered meal program allows meal runners to check on seniors regularly.

“It’s a daily check on people, and that sometimes can be just as important,” she said.

In addition, MDSCAA offers personal care services and adult day services to seniors in the area.

Kidd also provided a look at the budgets for various senior services offered by MDSCAA, including the Senior Citizens’ Nutrition Program. In 2016-17, $246,740 of this program’s funding came from federal and state sources, $204,150 came from the program’s income and donations, and $178,637 came from a Delta County millage.

“It’s very well-supported by the people getting the service themselves,” she said.

Moberg also spoke about the current state of Community Action funding. While President Trump’s initial federal budget proposal had eliminated discretionary funding for some programs which Community Action Agencies rely on, the continuing resolution budget passed by Congress would not have a significant impact on these programs.

The board also voted to accept a motion officially designating May as Community Action Month in Delta County.

In other business, the board:

– heard from Delta County Administrator Ryan Bergman on the design process for the new Delta County Correctional Facility. Bergman said the design for this facility is being finalized, and the county is still on track to begin construction on the correctional facility project this summer.

– established a loan process for townships participating in the fire number sign project.

– voted in favor of providing $1,000 in funding to the Marine Corps League for a convention the group will host at the Island Resort and Casino next month.

– accepted the “Stepping Up Resolution,” which acknowledges that the high number of individuals with mental health issues in jail is a problem that must be solved on the national, state, and local levels.

– approved a time extension on a contract between the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Delta County Airport for the airport’s weather briefing system.

– accepted a $20,300 bid for circuit court security renovations from Roy Ness Contracting and Sales, Inc., as was recommended to the board by the Building and Grounds Committee.

– moved a board meeting originally scheduled for July 4 to June 27. This meeting will be held at 5:15 p.m.