Senior centers got some money, need more money

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Socorro County Commissioners heard good news and bad news from the county’s senior centers program during the commission’s regular meeting Sept. 10.
Lewis Auerbach, senior center director, said the centers are running well and have about $146,000 in capital outlay coming in this year.
“All that we asked for last year was approved,” Auerbach said.
He said the funding will pay for renovations, work on the parking lot and possibly work on the two bathrooms in the front of the Socorro Senior Center, plus purchase equipment for the Magdalena and Veguita centers.
In other news, Auerbach told the commission New Mexico ranks second in the nation for senior hunger, and Socorro is one of the poorest counties in New Mexico.
“We have a lot of seniors who desperately need help from the senior center,” Auerbach said.
Auerbach said AAA received a grant from Walmart to help end senior hunger in New Mexico. He said he will ask for more money from Santa Fe because he expects at least eight to 10 new seniors will need home delivery this year. He said the Walmart grant helps, but only for a certain amount of time — it provides $1,150 per client for 26 weeks.
“We desperately need more funds here in Socorro,” Auerbach said.
District I Commissioner Pauline Jaramillo remarked it was some good news and some bad news from the senior center.
County Manager Delilah Walsh said the county has to submit a plan to the state Aging and Long-Term Services Department for things like equipment replacement. Aging rates the needs in the entire state, then presents projects to the Legislature for funding. She said it is about a five-year process from the time of asking for the funds to actually getting the funds.
In other department reports:
• County Clerk Rebecca Vega said same-sex marriage licenses are still not being issued at her office. She said the New Mexico Association of Counties and NMAC Clerks Affiliate filed a writ of superintending control asking the state Supreme Court to decide whether state law permits same-sex couples to marry. County attorney Adren Nance noted the hearing for that is scheduled for Oct. 23.
• County Treasurer Tina Lujan reported the county’s balance at First State Bank at just over $2.3 million and its Wells Fargo savings was just over $5 million, for a total in liquid accounts just over $7.3 million. Time investments include $1 million at Wells Fargo and $4.5 million at First State Bank. August collections were just over $131,000. The Taxation and Revenue Department has been sending payments for delinquencies totaling just over $26,000.
• Jerry Wheeler, chief deputy fire marshal, mentioned the county’s full-scale emergency exercise Sept. 24 during the emergency management department report. In addition to the county emergency management office, the exercise was to include state Homeland Security, Socorro County Sheriff’s Department, New Mexico State Police, Socorro Police Department, Socorro Fire Department, village of Magdalena, Hop Canyon Volunteer Fire Department, Socorro General Hospital, Bureau of Land Management, State Forestry Division and the extension service. The exercise was canceled, according to an email sent Monday night from the emergency management department, due to heavy emergency response to flooding incidents since Sept. 9.
• Celeste Griego, literacy program director, reported the county received its literacy grant award, which is up to $10,000, the highest it’s been in four years. She just had to let a person go the week before because they didn’t know about the grant coming in, but the program will advertise the position again.
• Walsh reported auditors advised the county needs to do more on internal control. She added auditing guidelines are getting much more stringent.