Commission members: Rosalind Kopfstein, Chairman, Henry Polio, Beth Wagner, Janet Metzger, Jean Whitham, Hilda Rhodes, Lea Mintz
Others present: Gail Schiron, Marie Sibilio, Julia Pemberton (10:05 am) and five visitors
Mrs. Kopfstein called the July 2, 2014 meeting to order at 9:00 am in the Community Center.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the minutes of the meeting of June 4, 2014 be accepted as submitted. Metzger, Rhodes. Approved. Unanimous. 6-0-1. Mrs. Mintz abstained.
Several members of the public addressed the issue of the change in the fee structure for classes at the Senior Center. Speakers were Sherry Karraker, Jean Schroeder, Myrna Robinson, Bill Walsh, Kathleen Whalen and Ginny Cohen. The following concerns/questions were raised:
- What is driving the change in the fee structure,
- What are the financial objectives of the change,
- Has participation decreased?
- Why do instructors need to be on payroll and not hired as subcontractors?
- How many people participate in programs
- The computer courses were not advertised.
- Suggestion to institute a membership fee.
- Need for flexibility, seniors are often traveling or ill and cannot attend each class.
- There is a need for exercise for seniors for health reasons.
- What was wrong with the “punch card” system.
There was discussion on each of these items. The change in fee structure was instituted to address the planning of courses/classes. If a sufficient number of people do not register and pay in advance, a program cannot be offered. This system would align with the Park & Recreation Department system. The staff is being trained on the computer program (RecTrac) used by Park & Recreation and it will be put in operation soon. The computer program will provide a record of number of participants and information on cost and revenue for analysis.
The change in fee structure is not a financial decision, but a change to assist with planning and analysis of programming. The Town of Redding will continue to supplement senior programming at the Center. The advertising of the programs needs to improve with greater use of email, flyers and word of mouth. There was a good deal of discussion on imposing a membership fee.
Mrs. Schiron summarized some of the spoken concerns: agreement that a fee of $5.00 for a 1-hour class and $8.00 for a 2-hour class is appropriate; and there is a need for flexibility, drop-ins should be permitted.
One suggestion for the exercise program was to sign up in advance(and pay) for four weeks (in a given month), but allow the participant to attend either Tuesday or Thursday class. Another individual pointed out that “seniors” are hesitant to commit to a full month due to illness, travel and other scheduling problems.
Mrs. Mintz questioned how a program could be offered if a minimum number of people did not register and pay in advance. The cost of the instructor should be covered and it is unfair to the instructor to not have a full class of participants.
Many present, both the visitors and commission members, were in agreement that the punch card system was working for the participants.
Mrs. Schiron reported on the following:
- Actual revenue: 2011-12, $11,669
- Actual revenue: 2012-13, $8,011
- Budgeted revenue: 2013-14, $12,000, actual not available
- Budgeted revenue: 2014-15, $10,000
Senior Program expenditures:
- Actual: 2011-12,$23,938
- Actual, 2012-13, $18,869
- Budgeted: 2013-14, $27,000, actual not available
- Budgeted, 2014-15, $25,000
- The new van/minibus is scheduled for delivery on Monday, July 7, 2014.
- Mrs. Schiron reported on home visits and her attendance at various meetings.
- She participated in a safety meeting, reviewing the needs of the building relative to safety.
- Excel training of staff was conducted by Finance Director Steve Gniadek.
- Training on RecTrac and the processing of payments via credit card will take place during the month of July.
- Mrs. Schiron participated in a State-wide hurricane drill which including developing plans for addressing the needs of seniors in a variety of scenarios.
The building will be closed for programs August 25, 2014 to September 12, 2014. The closure is for the Mark Twain Library Book Sale and general maintenance. Following the library book sale, the entire interior will be cleaned, painted, and carpeting will be cleaned.
Senior Age: The age for senior programming is set at 60, the same age that Park & Recreation uses. The policy of the Park & Recreation Department is that residents 60 years of age and over are offered a 50% discount on most programs (except trips or otherwise stated). The Senior Center should be consistent with that policy.
REPORT ON ACTIVITIES
Mrs. Sibilio reported the following:
- Classes are winding down for the year, with the usual decrease in participation during the summer.
- No movies are planned for the summer months.
- Lunches: Marie will continue the themed lunches in the fall. Mrs. Metzger suggested that Commission members be assigned to assist with the planning and preparation each month. This will require long-range planning for the year.
- Data collection: Marie is working on the data collection for programming over the last year. Beth Wagner offered to assist with that process and will set up a meeting with Marie.
- Cooking class with Mary Jo Dix was successful, but the costs were not completely covered by the fee charged. It was suggested that the fee for the class should cover the costs.
- Flu Shots: Bethel VNA will be on site in October and Ridgefield VNA in November for the administration of flu shots.
Julia Pemberton arrived at 10:05 am; Mr. Polio and Mrs. Mintz left about the same time.
MEADOW RIDGE SWIM PROGRAM
Mrs. Whitham reported the swim program is not currently being offered, but she has scheduled a meeting with Julia Pemberton on July 10 and with Michele at Meadow Ridge on July 11. She believes the issues with the processing of payment can be worked out. She anticipates that participants will register and pay for the program at the Senior Center and one check would be issued to Meadow Ridge to cover the cost. Mrs. Mintz offered her assistance in working this out.
UPDATE OF REDDING DIRECTORY OF SERVICES FOR SENIORS & THEIR FAMILIES
The book was initially published in 2010 and is in need of an update. Mrs. Kopfstein will work with Mr. Crocker and Eloise Barron of the Ridgefield VNA on a revision.
The issues regarding the change in fee structure were reviewed for Mrs. Pemberton. Mrs. Pemberton stated that the staff is being trained on RecTrac at this time. The plan is to review and reassess the fee structure in September and there will be a discussion on the agenda for the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on September 15, 2014.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Motion: move that the Commission on Aging reelect Rosalind Kopfstein as Chairman and Janet Metzger as Vice Chairman. Whitham, Wagner. Approved. Unanimous.
The next meeting is scheduled for September 3, 2014 at 9:00 am in the Town Hall.
The Chair adjourned the meeting at 10:35 am.
Mary Maday, Recording Secretary