Senior Advisory wants to build on momentum

Sat, 01/21/2023 - 11:15am

The members of the Senior Advisory Committee want to continue building up services for seniors living on Block Island, and the key to doing that is through the budget. On Tuesday, Jan. 17, the committee hashed through a budget they are proposing for the next fiscal year.
One of the items they would like to see funded is pay for a “senior center” staff position. Currently the senior center, called the Community Café, is run by volunteers and members of the committee have put in hundreds of hours running it and many other programs. But relying on volunteers is not a long-term strategy. “I have made that point, and I will continue to make that point,” said SAC Co-chair Sandy Kelly.
Other costs proposed in the budget related to the café include food, beverage, and paper supplies, technology, and money to pay for speakers and Master Classes. Some of the non-café expenses included are for fitness programs, home safety equipment, and caregiver training.
Members of the committee had a lengthy conversation about just how much detail, including narrative, should be included in the budget proposal. Chuck McMellon thought more was needed. “Is this a case where we ask for this, and they give us less? If so, this seems vague.”
Others thought that perhaps the members of the Town Council already had too much to read at budget time, but they did concede to some of McMellon’s points, such as the need to present what was budgeted for this fiscal year for comparative purposes, and then to explain the increases.
“I’m totally with you, said Kelly. “It is taxpayer money. I want it to be fair and accurate.”
One line item that they would like to see increased is the senior ride service. “We had to stop the senior ride service two years in a row,” said Kelly, “because we ran out of money.”
Café programming continues to grow. Kelly said: “We’ve had great success with the monthly movie.” Turning to McMellon, who conducted a session on genealogy, she told him, “Everyone enjoyed your program.” She added that they were “getting lots of new people.”
New and upcoming programs are seated yoga, taught by Susan Stover, and Lonni Todd will be conducting four drawing sessions during the month of February.
There will be a special Lunch Bunch on Tuesday, January 24 at 12:30 p.m. in celebration of Chinese New Year’s, which ushers in the Year of the Rabbit. Lunch, consisting of a Chinese food feast, will be cooked by Judy Mitchell. The next Lunch Bunch will be February 14.