Stephen Wall, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/14/2010 04:18:57 PM PST

GRAND TERRACE – The city’s prescription drug discount program has been revived, thanks to an unlikely benefactor.

Barney Karger, an 81-year-old resident who has been critical of city officials, made a generous donation this week allowing Grand Terrace to offer the program.

The program enables Grand Terrace residents to get an average savings of 20 percent off the price of prescription drugs at CVS Pharmacies and other drug stores.

The program was approved by the council last year, but was never implemented for budgetary reasons.

The city was a member of the National League of Cities, which made the program available at no cost to member cities.

But the program was not offered because the city couldn’t afford the nearly $1,500 membership renewal fee last year.

This week, Councilwoman Bea Cortes decided to try to resuscitate the program.

With the help of Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge, the league’s newly elected president, the city was able to get a 50-percent discount off the renewal dues.

But the city was still short of money for the program. Cortes said she would have paid for it out of her campaign account but lacked the funds to do so.

So she approached local businesses and asked if they would be willing to pitch in to pay for the membership.

Karger, a retired developer and contractor, agreed to write a check to cover the cost.

“We’ve had a great deal of strife in the city in the last year,” Karger said. “If the city can’t afford it, I can. I presume there will be a lot of people getting these cards and I can help them out.”

Cortes had nothing but praise for Karger.

“In my estimation, he’s a hero for Grand Terrace,” she said. “A lot of residents have lost their jobs, or they have furlough days, or their hours have been cut. It’s difficult times right now financially. If we can help them save a few dollars, we should.”

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