Council on Aging Chair and Treasurer Clarify Position on Override
The Holliston Council On Aging (COA) wishes to place in proper context the correctly reported statement in the Metrowest Daily News that the Holliston COA "did not want" money that was added to Senior Center operations in the override amount crafted by the Holliston Board of Selectmen.
The override question seeks to raise $986,598 of that amount, $5,000 was earmarked to add to the Senior Center budget for building and grounds maintenance.
In fiscal year 2009, $6,145 was expended from town-appropriated funds for routine maintenance for the Center in fiscal year 2010 $5,975 is budgeted. For fiscal year 2011 the maintenance line was recommended at $5,059, part of a proposed COA budget submitted to the town that met Finance Committee guidelines. Of course, unforeseen repairs of significant magnitude could arise, but have never been part of the operating budget.
While concern had been expressed to the Selectmen and Finance Committee about reductions in the maintenance line and the aging of the building (a town-owned facility but for which routine maintenance is a Center responsibility), we believe the budget proposal provided sparingly but adequately for necessary maintenance and repairs.
The Council On Aging and Senior Center receives approximately $150,000 annually from town- appropriated funds to pay three part-time staff, operate the Center, and contribute $8,000 to the Center-operated transportation program for seniors (that costs $47,000 annually). Budgeted expense items include administrative such as telephone and office supplies, and building operation including utilities and cleaning and maintenance.It is important to note that no town-appropriated monies provide for any educational, cultural, health and safety, nutritional, self enrichment, or social programs at the Center. They are funded by user donations/fees, fundraising, private and state gifts, grants, and donations.
When crafting the override amount for presentation to the town electorate, the Board of Selectmen - certainly well-intentioned - proposed revising the COA budget and adding the sum of $5,000 to the Senior Center maintenance line. Unfortunately, timing issues did not allow for that proposal to come before the Council for review prior to establishing the override request, so the sum was included in the total.
It is not that the COA and Senior Center doesn't need money. We are charged with providing programs to meet the needs of Holliston's senior population s, which represents approximately 19% of the total population of the town, and almost one third of it's households. We need more programming for educational, health, safety, and outreach programs. We need to find ways to continue funding our weekly nutrition program. We need to increase the hours of staff to keep the facility open and operating in the face of ever-growing demand for use. We need to engage a part time volunteer coordinator to help manage the tremendous usage and contribution of the great many volunteers who help us. The list of needs is long the resources available limited and shrinking.
The Council has taken a position, however, that adding an additional $5,000 to our maintenance budget for FY2011 through override serves neither the Senior Center, nor the taxpayers of the town. As a result, the Council voted unanimously to decline, and "did not want", the funds earmarked for us in the override total.
Very truly yours,
Henry Dellicker, Chair, Holliston Council On Aging
Kevin Robert Malone, Treasurer, Holliston Council On Aging
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