- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The East Baton Rouge Council on Aging continues to operate at a deficit of about $400,000 a year and a new audit out this week questions the agency’s viability due to increasing demands that outpace funding.

Council on Aging Executive Director Tasha Clark-Amar tells The Advocate (https://bit.ly/1izYDUL ) leaders are working to address the financial issues without affecting the seniors they serve.

“These are lives that we deal with,” she said. “We have people that depend and live off these meals.”

The Council on Aging, which operates 14 senior centers throughout parish and runs the meal delivery program for low-income seniors, receives funding from the city-parish, state and federal governments, in addition to grants, donations and other outside fundraising efforts.

Clark-Amar said fundraising has become a key focus of efforts to address budget issues at the agency.

“Every day, we get more requests from seniors,” she said. “It’s a fine line we are walking.”

The audit, released this week by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office, examines the council’s financial activities for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Last year, an audit from the Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs raised similar concerns. At the time, Clark-Amar attributed many of the issues to a “rocky transition” from the previous director.

When Clark-Amar first came on board as director in July 2011, the Council on Aging was struggling financially and had to take out a $50,000 bank loan just to meet payroll obligations.

Clark-Amar said 10 issues have been rectified, including issues in purchasing and staffing.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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