First senior fund grants work well for all

USERS OF THE PLYMOUTH Adult Community Center should be pleased with the first round of grants from the city’s senior center fund.

And city officials should be happy that the system they developed to disburse money from the account worked as intended.

The City Council last week approved spending more than $8,000 from the $60,000-plus fund for exercise equipment, furniture and other fittings at the PACC’s quarters in the Generations inter-generational center building.

The money in the segregated fund, which the city has been holding for years, came from various bequests to and fundraisers held by the Plymouth Senior Center during the years when it was a department of the city. Now, the rechristened Plymouth Adult Community Center is an independent agency, operated by the Plymouth Intergenerational Coalition under an agreement with the city.

The fund had been a source of conflict between the center and the city, with many at the center demanding that the money be released to the center and fearing that the city would use the funds for other purposes.

The procedure set in place, with a grant application process and review by the Committee on Aging for final approval by the council, is a good one that works to ensure that the funds are utilized properly and wisely.

The council approval came with one negative vote, from Alderperson Jackie Jarvis.

Jarvis said she has asked for, but has yet to receive, documentation on what the intent was of the original donors to the fund, and questioned whether the fund should be used to purchase permanent fixtures at the Generations center.

While she said she was merely being prudent,

Jarvis’ questions missed the mark.

No one can know for sure what the original intent was for the money donated over decades to the senior center. Some of it came from bequests and donations, but some of it also came from fundraising events like bake sales and brat frys.

Is it fair – or prudent – to hold the money hostage because we don’t know exactly what someone who purchased a cupcake or a double brat wanted their money to go for? The only thing we can say for certain is that they wanted it to go toward the senior center – which it has and will in the future.

For instance, money from the fund was used in the past to purchase computers for use in the senior center – and it’s almost certain that at least some of that money was donated to the center at a time long before desktop computers, before everyone was using them, and no one who donated thought computers would be something senior citizens would use.

Ultimately, the goal should be to have the Plymouth Adult Community Center establish its own fiscal independence, to stand on its own without or with minimal city support.

When that time comes, the city should release what remains of the senior center fund to the PACC to do with as it sees fit and appropriate to maintain and sustain its operations and programming. But until that time, the current grant system seems to be a reasonable and workable method.

At issue:
Senior fund grant system
Bottom line:
Worked right first time out


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