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      Senior centers battle budget cuts

      The Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency is dealing with budget cuts affecting its meals programs.

      The agency's nutrition program offers in-house and home-delivered meals to anyone over the age of 60 for a suggested donation of $4.

      Community Services Director Betsy Hardacre says a lack of attendance in the program is causing budget cuts.

      â??Funding depends on how many meals we serve each year. If we're serving less meals next year, our funding will be reduced,â?? says Betsy.

      Betsy says the problem stems from some seniors having a full plate of daily responsibilities.

      â??I really think todayâ??s younger seniors are still working. They don't necessarily have enough time to stop in the middle of the day and have a meal at the senior center,â?? Betsy says.

      From 2010-2011, there has been a total reduction of $14,000 in state and federal funding due to a lack of participation. In the past year, senior participation overall decreased 22 percent.

      DICSAâ??s Executive Director, Jeffrey Heino, says the agency has been forced to reduce services and employees to adjust. He says these cuts make the program's survival more difficult.

      â??We've had to adjust services to compensate. The more you adjust services, the fewer participants you wind up having,â?? says Jeff.

      The agency will start sending out surveys next week to try and pinpoint the issue.

      â??What we'd like to do is find out exactly what we can be doing differently as an agency to bring more seniors in,â?? Jeff says.