Make the road smoother for PACC

TRANSITION IS NEVER AN easy process. For the former Plymouth Senior Center, the transition to the Plymouth Adult Community Center and a new home in the Generations building has been fairly smooth to this point, but it appears they’ve hit a bump in the road.

City officials have asked the Plymouth Intergenerational Coalition – which runs the PACC for the city as an independent contractor – to accept less funding from the city in the future. The city will give PIC $130,000 a year for the next two years and $120,000 the following year.

The city points to its tightened budget situation as the reason for the change, noting that city employees have not received a pay raise in two years and the city has initiated a residential garbage collection fee as two of many signs the city is tightening its budget belt.

They also point out that the city has provided 100 percent of the funds for PACC’s operation, both when it was a department of city government and since it became a contracted operations with PIC.

That contrasts with the majority of communities across the state with senior centers which are not supported wholly by the local government and taxpayers.

The PACC serves people from throughout this part of the county, not just city of Plymouth residents, which is another reason why the city feels justified in withdrawing some of its support for the center.

The important thing to remember is that the city will still be providing a majority of the funding for PACC operations. According to PIC Executive Director Martha Laning, the shortfall will be under $10,000 in the coming year, much of which is already being covered from other sources.

PIC and the PACC have taken steps to look at other funding sources, including establishing a Friends of the PACC group to solicit and raise funds for the center.

These are good steps to take to help ensure the financial future of the PACC and give it some independence from the vagaries of public government financing.

The other bone of contention that has arisen between the city and the center is a $67,000 city reserve fund for the senior center.

That money came from a variety of sources

– donations, fundraiser proceeds and more – when the senior center was a department of city government.

The city used money from the fund to help in moving the center to Generations and furnishing the new center, but continues to hold some $67,000 in the fund.

The city is declining to release the entire fund to the PACC, saying they would like to keep the money to finance possible future projects that would benefit seniors in the city.

To the city’s credit, they have kept the fund intact and have not utilized the money for any other purposes. It was money that went to the city and, legally, the city still has control over it.

But it would be a gesture of good faith and good will if the city would be willing to donate some of the money in the fund toward the PACC friends group – if and when it gets up and running – to help defray operating costs at the PACC and to serve as seed money for the group’s ongoing efforts to that end.

At the same time, city officials could give some indication of what other uses the money in the reserve fund might be put to in the future and give continued reassurance that the money will never be used for any purpose other than aiding senior citizens and programming for them.

It would help to smooth a lot bumps in the road for the city, the PACC and its members.

At issue:
Funding for PACC
Bottom line:
Solution will be found

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