The future of the Marshall County Senior Citizens Center has been at the forefront of the community's mind in the past weeks as the center's future was hinging on the decision of the Marshall County Fiscal Court during tomorrow's second reading of the budget. But according to Benton Mayor Rita Dotson, the senior citizens board of directors has chosen to close the center.

In a social media post shared moments ago, Dotson said Ken Lewis, co-chair of the senior citizens board of directors, reported the board had voted unanimously to close the center.

"He informed me that everyone on that board is in their 80s and that they are tired of fighting the funding issue like they have the past few years. There is no way to keep the center open without the funding," she wrote in part.

"This is a sad day for our wonderful, close-knit community. If we can't extend a helping hand for our elderly that have blazed the path for our current and future generations then that speaks volumes for our integrity," she added.

Dotson thanked Commissioner Kevin Spraggs, who openly spoke against cutting the non-profit funding in the county's budget in an effort to preserve such organizations as the senior center, for his support. She also said she didn't believe Commissioner Monti Collins would have "voted against funding our seniors." She also thanked the late Marshall County Judge-Executive Mike Miller and his wife, former Marshall County Judge-Executive Chyrill Miller, as well as the former commissioners for their support of the seniors.

The Marshall County Fiscal Court scheduled a special-called meeting for tomorrow at 4 p.m. at the county courthouse to hear the second reading of the proposed budget, which cuts potential funding of non-profit organizations from $200,000 to $50,000, a measure which Spraggs has been adamant he would not support. 

Another organization, the Marshall County Caring Needline, has told The Tribune-Courier they will also be faced with a decision to close if the funding is cut as proposed.

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