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Editorial:

Meals program may feel squeeze

March 20, 2010

With the city facing a budget scenario in which it will have to tighten its belt to the next notch, no matter the pain, it’s inevitable that some social programs will feel the squeeze.

Already the situation has started to manifest itself in senior meals program, where city administrators are floating a proposal to consolidate lunches to two locations — the Joslyn Adult Center and the Don Tuttle Senior Center.

The McCambridge Park location, which has been out of service since September while crews install seismic retrofits, would be permanently axed from the program. The consolidation would save the city roughly $13,000 annually, mostly in staff time, and free up space at McCambridge to host money-generating programs, according to a city memo.

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But clients of the meals program, particularly those who have used McCambridge and were under the impression that the location would reopen after construction, have been crying foul, arguing the two other centers are either too far or cumbersome.

These are the kinds of sacrifices residents will have to make in coming months as city officials cut beyond the bone. Much of the fat was lost last year, but the recession, despite Burbank’s stellar credit rating, hasn’t let up on city coffers.

City officials were able to shield the public from much of the budget-cutting impact last time around, but if this case is any indication, that will be a harder feat to pull off this spring.


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