The number of citizens who use the Tri-County Senior Center is growing, serving a larger segment of the community than the seniors who eat weekday lunches there, according to a city ordinance providing city support for the facility.

The city will make a payment of $10,000 to the center in 2014 for the services it provides.

Aldermen approved the expenditure at their Feb. 18 board meeting, authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with the senior center as a place for public meetings that serve the community.

Under the agreement, the senior center building is available to the city for meetings or other events.

In addition, the center provides a meeting place for public and nonprofit organizations at no charge on a nondiscriminatory basis, which currently includes the city, G.E.D. classes, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts.

The senior center also provides a funeral hall when needed.

Coupled with the recyclable funds, which the city passes through to the senior center, and the $1 citizens add to their water bills, the city funds enable the center to serve more of the community, according to Jean Guffey, senior center administrator.

“The $10,000 goes entirely to utilities,” Guffey said. “And it is more than just cook the food. We’re open almost every evening for Cub Scouts, G.E.D. classes and other organizations that meet here. We don’t charge them. This helps the whole community.”

The $1 that individual citizens add to their water bills also plays a vital role for the center, she said.

“We use that money to help keep the cost of the lunch at $4,” Guffey said. “It’s $3.75 if they purchase 10 tickets. It’s important to keep the meals affordable.”

The Tri-County Senior Center receives no state or federal funding. It is operated with assistance from the city, United Way, gifts from the community and fund-raisers organized by senior center patrons.

The senior center is currently asking local businesses to become sponsors or underwriters for an upcoming 5K run/waddle/roll to be held Saturday, April 19.

For more information about senior center programs or events call 636-257-6264.