MOUNT CARMEL — The Wabash County community is stepping up to help raise funds for the county's senior center in order to keep the doors open.

Financial strain has forced reduction in programs and hours as the city awaits payments from the State of Illinois that have been delayed due to the backlog of bills that haven't been paid by the state because of failing to have a budget in place the past three years.

Mount Carmel Commissioner Joe Judge said he spoke with the Illinois Comptrollers officer which indicated the state is now paying bills from July 2017. Judge said Illinois General Assembly Representative David Reis did make some calls which help to get the senior center a $4,037 payment from the state for Oct. 2017 payment.

Jeff Thompson with the Mount Carmel Eagles presented Judge with $4,040 donation during Monday's city council meeting. Thompson said the funds were raised at the club during a weekend fundraiser. City officials thanked Thompson and the community for their help in trying to keep the doors open at the center.

There is also a chili supper planned on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at the senior center from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. There will be dinner and a dessert auction. All funds raised will go towards keeping the senior center open.

"With the help from the community we can now stay open until the first week in April," said Judge.

In other city council news; Mount Carmel Commissioner Justin Dulgar said the Pecan Lift Station repairs are near completion. Water treatment employees have been completing water trials using a new process to treat water without using as many chemicals but keeping the water safe. Dulgar said the trials are going well.

Mount Carmel Commissioner Rod Rodriguez told the council that the Bellmont Volunteer Fire Department will have their 25th Chili Supper on Saturday, Feb. 24 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. They will also have a auction and drawings.

The annual Guns and Hoses will be held on March 11. All money raised will go to help the Wabash County Senior Center. There will be more information released about the event in the near future.

The council approved a request for a special event liquor license for a St. Mary's fundraiser that will be held at the Eagles in March.

The city council heard from business communication teacher Brianna Witsman who presented the council with logos for the bicentennial celebration. Witsman said her students worked on designing the logo and one was chosen to present their design to the council. The winning logo was created by Scotty Brown and will be used in promotional signage for the city in their bicentennial celebrations.

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