During the first quarter of the year, my staff and I began making changes to our standards, which contains the details of how Wayne Township operates and makes decisions. Changes can be as simple as a listing the new 260 area code, or they can be complicated changes that result from recent legislative decisions. Other changes are made to improve the way we serve the public. For example, Wayne Township can only pay up to a fixed amount for shelter assistance, which varies per number of bedrooms in the dwelling. I raised the shelter allowance by $50 per month in order to keep current with the needs of our community. My administration is the first one in twenty years to make this change. Any interested person can access Wayne Township's standards by going to our website or the county recorder's office.
On April 2, the income eligibility guidelines for township assistance at Wayne Township changed to 100% of the Federal poverty guidelines for 2002. In November, I raised them to 125% of the 2001 Federal poverty guidelines to protect the working poor and senior citizens who couldn't afford the cost of heat.
I have more projects in the works that will improve and extend our services, as well as save money. I researched issues on burials for the indigent and am willing to increase the amount paid to funeral homes for a guaranteed level of service. As with shelter costs, the Township is authorized to pay a fixed amount, which hasn't been raised in about 20 years.
In order to save taxpayers money and help senior citizens with prescription medications, I am planning to partner with pharmaceutical companies to secure reduced costs for prescription maintenance drugs for our clients. I also am working on a way to provide emergency medicine for individuals released from hospitals who do not have the money to purchase prescriptions outside of normal business hours, which includes weekends and holidays.
These improvements on service are in direct response to the needs of our community. It is unrealistic to continue to pay shelter expenses (or burials) based on 1980 figures. Although we will spend more for these types of assistance, Wayne Township will be doing its job, which is serving its community. However, as Trustee, I will continue to ensure that we will achieve these goals in the most fiscally responsible way.
Matthew P. Schomburg
Trustee, Wayne Township