While the sequester has loomed as a symbol of the federal government’s inability to use compromise as a functioning tool, the practical import of the steep budget cuts to various federal departments is starting to trickle down to Nevada County.
On Tuesday, Nevada County Supervisor Nate Beason will ask the board to support giving a regional agency in charge of funding various programs for senior citizens the flexibility to decide how sequester-driven budget cuts will be implemented to have the least impact to local seniors.
The Area 4 Agency on Aging is a Sacramento-based organization tasked with administering the Older American Act funding within seven counties in proximity to the Sierra foothills.
The agency distributes federal funding to various agencies and programs targeting seniors, including in-home care services, disaster preparedness, health and mental services, legal assistance and employment.
“I recently received word that there will be about a 7-10 percent reduction in … funding over the next few months as a result of the sequestration,” Beason wrote in a letter to the board of supervisors. “This equates to approximately $300,000 across the region.”
The regional agency represents service providers operating in seven counties, including Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba.
Beason said the cuts will impact programs, but he is hoping the local jurisdictions will be able to decide how the cuts are implemented with the least impact to each jurisdiction.
“We know what’s best for our local communities, and the folks in Washington don’t,” Beason said.
The supervisor is concerned that a program may be important in one county and less relevant in another, meaning administrators will have to be discerning in their decisions about what gets affected by shortfalls.
“We agree that it is most important to consider needs of our seniors first and foremost in the context of local priorities in as flexible a fashion as possible,” wrote Nevada County Chairman Hank Weston to Tom Dahill, the chairman of the governing board of the agency on aging. “Throughout our area, the needs of seniors living in rural and remote areas have become more acute as funding reductions are instituted. Therefore, in these uncertain times, it is critical that the local level be given as much discretion and flexibility as possible, within the limits of the law, to prioritize the needs of their residents and the attendant funding allocations.”
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4239.