HANOVER TOWNSHIP (ECWd) –
While reviewing Hanover Township’s expense reports, we noticed that the township had recently started using General Assistance funds to pay for its food pantry, instead of the Town Fund where it should be coming from.
Previous years do not show this, as it was a recent move from paying out of the Town Fund, to paying out of General Assistance.
A FOIA request confirmed our suspicions, as did a follow-up email to the Township Administrator asking for comment on the subject.
Question for comment:
Why did Hanover Township start paying for the food bank out of general assistance funds?
Township Administrator James Barr’s response:
Hanover Township started paying for the food pantry from general assistance funds in Fiscal Year 2019 because this aligned with the intended purpose of general assistance to provide indigent residents with basic maintenance including shelter, utilities, and food. However, in recognition of your recent inquiries pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, we plan to cease this practice and return to our prior practice of paying for the food pantry using town funds.
While we appreciate he says they plan to cease using General Assistance funds for the food pantry, we dispute that General Assistance “aligned with the intended purpose…to provide indigent residents with basic maintenance including shelter, utilities, and food.”
No such language can be located in the Public Aid Code, Article VI, Section 6-1:
It specifically references “basic maintenance requirements” with financial aid:
- for either (a) necessary treatment, care, and supplies required because of illness or disability, or (b) acute medical treatment, care, and supplies only.
The words food, shelter, and utilities are not found in this section where “basic maintenance requirements” are discussed.
We appreciate they are going to cease what they are doing, however, no specific date on when it would cease was provided. We are also unsure if any funds were transferred from the Town Fund into the GA Fund for the food pantry this fiscal year.