NORWICH – Not only did the Chenango County Area Agency on Aging find enough leftover money in their budget this year to purchase about 50 new medical alert buttons for seniors, but the county’s financial leaders agreed they could spend it.
The decision, however, came with a lot of discussion about departmental priorities, the value to taxpayers from offering the devices free to seniors, and whether to use end-of-the-year funds that would otherwise fall into surplus.
Department Director Deb Sanderson suggested $32,400 from seven budget lines could be used to purchase new units. The amount, plus $11,000 approved previously, should be enough to buy new ones and replace 40 used Lifelines that will become obsolete by the end of the year, Sanderson said.
The alert buttons, manufactured by many companies, are worn around the neck and automatically connect seniors to emergency health services. About 120 of Chenango County’s senior citizens are currently on a waiting list for them.