ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Abilene City Council approved budget cuts for fiscal year 2021 on Thursday night.
After the third and final reading, the proposed budget cuts were unanimously approved by council members, but with some new conditions.
“I’m supportive of the $2 a meal for seniors,” said Mayor Anthony Williams.
Now, the city will be charging $2 instead of $2.50 for senior meals.
“However, if one of our senior citizens does not have $2, then they will not be turned away,” said Williams.
The next change came for the Adaptive Recreation program after many emotional comments.
“As an educator, it’s very frustrating to see and graduate students with special needs be unsuccessful in their lives,” said one Abilene special education instructor.
City Manager Robert Hanna clarified he is not sending away the program.
“As city manager I do not intend on opening Adaptive Rec for the remainder of the fiscal year, partly because I can’t afford to. I am concerned of the health of these individuals,” said Hanna.
Jenny Goode, CEO of Betty Hardwick Center, says they are looking into taking over.
“We are interested in exploring the opportunity for the center to continue the service,” said Goode.
Hanna and the council are confident that they will be able to find a different nonprofit, if not Betty Hardwick, to take over.
“We will have Adaptive Rec funded in next year’s fiscal budget if we can’t find a third party to assume it,” said Hanna.
Hanna says until the population is able to get vaccines, and until the pandemic slows down he is not comfortable allowing the program to reopen, which should give him enough time to find a community partner.
All other ordinances were approved, such as cutting the dental program, senior transportation, the 211 Call for Help, and charging a fee for league sports.
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