Citizens for an Informed Yorktown

 

Senior Issues

See: Transportation, Senior Center, Senior Clubs

 


Town Board, 9-3-2013

Gil Kaufmann, chairman of the Senior Advisory Committee asked the Supervisor if he had followed up on the group’s June request for more security at the YCCC. In response the Supervisor said it was on his “to do” list.


Town Board, 6-25-2013

Four members of the committee discussed the following issues with the Board.

 

YCCC security:  They asked for more security in the building that has lots of open doors allowing anyone to walk in at any time. Mr. Kaufmann suggested using the auxiliary police as one option and Supervisor Grace  said he would run by the issue by the police department.  He raised the possibility of installing panic buttons. Councilman Murphy said he would speak to Patrol Officer Eidelman, the town’s public safety officer, about the issue and Councilman Paganelli raised the issue of exactly what constituted security, noting that the Parks & Rec Department paid $5,000 this past summer for a security guard at the day camp but the person was just a doorman while other doors to the building remained open and unattended.

 

Are You Okay program:  Supervisor Grace said there wasn’t much the town could do to have a call up program that covered everyone. Mr. Kaufmann advised the Board that he was told by the head of the American Legion post that it was planning on setting up some type of voluntary call up program. No details were available.

 

Newsletter: Ms. Panio said she had had discussions with the Yorktown News about a column dealing with senior issues and that the distribution of the existing Senior Calendar needed to be expanded. No suggestions were offered.  Supervisor Grace said he would like to see more intergenerational activities.

 

Projector: As an aside, Ms. Menton asked about the status of the projector (although not explicitly stated, the inference was that this was for the YCCC). Supervisor Grace said that someone (unnamed) had gotten an estimate of $20,000. He advised Ms. Menton to keep reminding him to pursue this issue.


Town Board, 6-18-2013

Gil Kaufmann, chairman of the Senior Advisory Committee, asked for an update (see below) on whether the town had identified any alternatives to the discontinued Are You Okay program that made phone calls to homebound seniors. When he repeated the question during the second courtesy session, Supervisor Grace said he thought that the county call program used during Hurriance Sandy had been adequate but that he would look into the issue.


Town Board, 2-26-2013

Gil Kaufmann, chairman of the Senior Advisory Committee, and other committee members, asked the Board to investigate programs that could monitor the well-being of seniors. Mr. Kaufmann explained that the “Are you Okay Program” that the Town had many years ago was a failure. The program called for police department personnel to make regular calls to those enrolled in the program. Problems occurred, however, when seniors went away and failed to notify that PD. That, in turn, led to PD breaking down the door or windows to gain entry to see if the senior citizen was okay.Mr. Kaufmann said he also didn’t like the idea of lock boxes, a program for seniors that is starting in Mr. Kisco and Supervisor Grace suggested that perhaps the police department could hold the keys.He also noted that some seniors who may actually need assistance do not want to participate in any programs because of privacy concerns.Committee member Rosemarie Panio asked to Town to look into a program in Pelham, but didn’t explain what the program was.

 

The group also discussed the county’s notification program for people with special needs. People who meet certain criteria can register with the county, but the Town makes the calls to the people on the list during times of emergency.

 

Town Clerk Roker said she would contact other town clerks to learn about what programs they had to assist seniors.

 

The Committee expects the Town’s state representatives to attend its March 15 meeting to discuss the current state of the STAR program.


Senior Clubs

Town Board, 1-14-2014

Gil Kaufmann, chairman of the Senior Advisory Committee and Jennie Menton, a member of the St. Patrick’s senior club, both addressed the issue of the $2,700 annual contribution the town makes to seven senior clubs.  (Earlier in the meeting, the Board voted to authorize the supervisor to sign 2014 agreements with the clubs.) When Mr. Kaufmann stated that the last time the clubs actually saw a written agreement was in February, 2012. Supervisor Grace said he’d get a copy of the new agreement to him but that there were no changes from past agreements.

 

Ms. Menton raised the issue that had been brought up before about the fairness of all the clubs receiving the same amount of money regardless of the size of their membership as well as the criteria used to determine when a new club was eligible for the subsidy.  She said that the clubs had discussed these issues with the Board in the past but that no action had been taken.   When Supervisor Grace said that keeping the status quo was the easiest way to proceed, Ms. Menton responded  that it wasn’t the fairest. The Supervisor said the Board would look into the matter again.  Ms. Menton added that the St. Patrick’s club is not limited to members of the church but is called St. Pats because the group meets there. She said that a newly formed St. Patrick’s senior club would  not be asking the town for money.


Town Board, 1-29-2013

Two issues were discussed: the need to establish criteria that would allow future senior clubs to be eligible to receive funds from the town to defray the cost of their annual trips, and whether the Jefferson Village Senior Travel Club, which began receiving funds in 2010, should continue to be eligible to receive funds. (Seven clubs are given $2,100 each for travel expenses, and six clubs get an additional $600 for general program expenses.)

 

Jefferson Village Senior Travel Club (aka Jefferson Owners Foundation)

In 2009, after the Recreation Commission determined that the club did not meet the established criteria, the Town Board overruled the Commission and said the group was eligible for funds beginning in 2010. (It was noted, with some laughter, that 2009 was an election year.) Tony Grasso questioned whether the group should be receiving the funds, stating that the Jefferson Owners Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) group what actually received the funds under had never been fully established.

 

Councilman Paganelli said that while the previous Board’s action set a precedent that the current Board could always reverse, the facts haven’t changed since 2009, and he saw no need to set aside the precedent.

 

Supervisor Grace and the other Board members were satisfied that the club was using the money appropriately and that it simply had to amend its paperwork to reflect the fact that the Town was giving money to the Foundation and not the Travel Club. He also reminded representatives of all the senior clubs that it was their responsibility to provide the Town with the documents the Town needed to determine that the funds were being used appropriately.

 

New Clubs

Noting that a new senior club was in the process of being formed at St. Patrick’s Church, Gil Kaufmann asked the Board to establish criteria for how and when new clubs could qualify for travel and program funding.Town Clerk Roker said that criteria already existed but Supervisor Grace said the criteria would be reviewed and written down in order to avoid future problems.

 


Town Board, 1-22-2013

On behalf of the AARP senior club, Gil Kaufmann asked when the Town would be releasing the money to the clubs so that they could begin to contract with the bus companies for their planned trips. In response, Supervisor Grace said that the issue would be put on the agenda for next week’s work session.


Town Board, 1-8-2012

 

On behalf of the AARP senior club, Gil Kaufmann was about to ask a question about the proposed resolution authorizing the Supervisor to sign agreements with six senior clubs when Councilman Paganelli said that at his request the item was being pulled from the agenda. No explanation was given. During the second Courtesy of the Floor, when the Board was asked why the resolution was pulled, Councilman Paganelli said that some clubs had not provided all the required information and that he was following up regarding the missing information.


Town Board, January 3, 2012

The board approved agreements with the following senior clubs: Jefferson Owners Corp., AARP Chapter 3297, New Horizons, Shrub Oak Senior Citizens Club, St. Patrick’s Seniors, and Yorktown Senior Club Chapter 1 and 2. (Prior to the vote, Town Attorney Koster asked that this item be taken off the list of resolutions to be voted on but Supervisor Grace said, “we’re okay with them.” In the board’s pre session meeting, the attorney had raised insurance issues about the agreements.)

During Courtesy of the Floor, Gil Kaufmann wanted to know if the Jefferson Owners Corp. had presented adequate documentation about the travel club. Councilman Bianco responded that it had.


Senior Center

Town Board, 10/9/2012

Three representatives of the Senior Advisory Committee asked the Board to begin preliminary planning for the renovation of the bathrooms pending the receipt of the state grant funds for the project recently announced by Senator Greg Ball. According to Gil Kaufmann, the committee’s chairman, $28,000 remains in the senior fund and can be used for the plans. Supervisor Grace said he had no problem with proceeding with the preliminary plans but that the Town would have to make sure it gets the state money before starting any actual work. State grants, he said, can be like “yo yos.”Mr. Kaufmann added that when he saw Senator Ball recently, the senator assured him that the money was coming and Planning Director Tegeder said his office would follow up on the paperwork associated with getting state grant money; to date, he wasn’t aware of any paperwork had been requested or submitted.

 

Supervisor Grace also suggested that in order to save money, Mr. Tegeder, who is by training an architect, work on the preliminary plans. Mr. Tegeder agreed to help out on the project.

In order to comply with state regulations, the renovated bathrooms will have to include a baby changing station. It was unclear whether showers would be required.

 


Town Board, 10-2-2012

Gil Kaufmann, chairman of the Senior Advisory Committee thanked state senator Greg Ball for the planned $100,000 grant to be used to renovate the bathrooms in the YCCC but added that the money hadn’t been received yet. He said the project was to be discussed at an upcoming work session and that the committee wanted to get the project started.


Town Board, 7-24-2012

The Board approved about $37,000 in final change orders for the senior nutrition center renovation.


Town Board, 6/5/2012

The board approved $3,412.50 in change orders for Sullivan Architects. In response to questions from Gil Kaufmann, chairman of the Senior Advisory Committee, as to what necessitated the additional charges, Planning Director John Tegeder explained that they involved changes in the moveable partition and also the new exit door that were required by the building department. In a correction to the resolution printed in the agenda, Comptroller Goldberg said that the money will come from the senior reserve fund and not from the general fund.


Town Board, 5/29/2012

At the request of Planning Director John Tegeder, the board said it would approve at the June 5th meeting, an additional $3,400 for Sullivan Architects. He added that he is still reviewing some change orders from the contractor but that he did not anticipate that the finished project would exceed the $531,000 that had been set aside for it.

In response to a question from Councilman Bianco on the status of the old "Liebell" grant, Mr. Tegeder said that Mary DeSilva was following up with Senator Ball's office on the availability of the grant money.


Town Board, 4/17/2012

Gil Kaufmann, chairman of the Senior Advisory Committee asked, for a second time, when the nutrition center would be ready for occupancy. Supervisor Grace said, “we’re at the finish line,” andCouncilman Paganelli said that as soon as all safety issues had been satisfied, the Town could issue a temporary CO.Two of the unfinished issues involve ADA compliance and a fire rated door.


Town  Board, 4/3/2012

Stating that the work was done a month ago, during Courtesy of the Floor, Gil Kaufmann, chairman of the Senior Advisory Committee wanted to know what was holding up the opening of the renovated nutrition center. If a temporary CO was given to the Winery, he said, why couldn’t the nutrition center open. In response, Planning Director John Tegeder, the person who has overseen the project, said that the work was 99% done and that the building inspector has been in touch with the contractor to schedule a final inspection.


Town Board, January 17, 2012

The board approved the change orders totaling $17,580.36 discussed during last week’s work session.

 


Town Board, January 10, 2012

Change Orders

Planning Director John Tegder walked the board through a series of seven change orders to the initial contract for the renovation of the senior nutrition center and related spaces.  For the most part, the changes were due to unforeseen events such as the need to relocate steam piping, the instalaltion of three additional doors, some masonry demolition, the installation of a new electrical line and the installation of a partition in the space for the Nutrition Office. Mr. Tegeder recommended that at the January 17th meting, the board approve the first four of the seven changes totaling $17,580.36. The remaining three changes will be forwarded to the board for its review at a future work session.

 

A total of $531,208 is available for the project, $300,000 in town funds that are the residual from a 2009 federal grant and $231,208 from the CDBG program. The contracted amount is $474,849, leaving $56,359 for potential contingencies.

 

Councilman Paganelli asked if there would be enough money to complete the project and Mr. Tegeder seemed confident that there would be sufficient money as most of the gutting type work that accounts for change orders is completed and the remaining work is mostly finishing.


Transportation

Town Board, 12-18-2012

Representatives of three senior citizen clubs asked the Board not to take anything away from them or decrease their stipend, adding that their stipend should not be based on the number of members in each club. (See comments about senior clubs at the December 5 budget hearing.)In response to Councilman Murphy’s question about what they thought was being “taken away,” they cited the town’s earlier decision not to provide vans to transport some of their members to special luncheons.

Supervisor Grace assured the club representatives that the Board was not planning to cut any senior funds and that all clubs would be treated equally, adding that the clubs needed to stop fighting among themselves. “It’s got to stop,” Councilman Bianco added.

 

As for the Town’s request for information about the clubs, the supervisor said the Town was requested the information for legal reasons and the routine need to recertify the clubs each year.And, in response to the question from one senior about why the Nutrition Center requested medical information, he said that it was for the safety of those attending the Center.


Town Board, 4/17/2012

 Gil Kaumann, chairman of the Senior Advisory Committee said that he hadn’t gotten a response to his request two weeks ago regarding what the plan was to provide the senior clubs with additional transportation this year.In response, Supervisor Grace said that there would be about 14 hours of overtime to operate the existing vans and that the additional cost would be ”nominal.”

Explaining that she had been approached by many seniors who were still confused about the bus issue, Jennie Menton reviewed the history of the issue and how, she said, the Town Board agreed to provide the transportation this year even though the clubs had been told last year that there would be no out-of-town transportation for lunches this year.She added that when the Senior Advisory Committee was told last year that there were no funds for supplies for the senior computer room, the Committee accepted that decision and looked for outside money. But now, she said, maybe we should ask again.

Rhoda Sussman repeated the need for continuing the bus service.


Town Board, 4/3/2012

During Courtesy of the Floor, Gil Kaufmann, chairman of the Senior Advisory Committee and Jennie Menton both raised questions about the resolution passed last week that would give five senior clubs additional bus transportation this year. Pointing out that there are seven, not five clubs,Mr. Kaufmann wanted to know how the additional trips were going to be paid for and how the town would handle requests for two clubs on the same day. Saying that it shouldn’t have been necessary for her to be at this meeting, Ms. Menton chastised the board for not followingthe Town’s rules and regulations and for undercutting Mary DeSilva, the head of the Town’s nutrition program. She asked the board to rescind last week’s resolution. She said that this was the second time that the board had compromised on a senior issue and implied that the decisions were influenced by election year concerns. (Editor’s note: the earlier decision, in 2009, made the Jefferson Village Travel Club eligible for Town funds to subsidize the club’s trips.)

When Councilman Bianco explained that the vote was a compromise and that in a democracy we have to compromise, Ms. Menton took exception to his definition of democracy stating that democracy did not mean going against rules and regulations. Compromise, she said, meant doing things the right way.

 

Councilman Bianco said he had been told that the Town had the money to pay for the additional transportation.


Town Board, 3/26/2012

Members of several senior clubs appeared before the board to try to resolve the issue over whether the Town will provide transportation to special club luncheons held outside of Yorktown (at Cortlandt Colonial Restaurant). Calling the issue “confusing,” Supervisor Grace asked Mary DeSilva, the director of the Town’s nutrition program and the person in charge of senior transportation to clarify the issue.

 

Ms. DeSilva explained that before the clubs started meeting at the YCCC, they arranged their own bus transportation for these luncheons. Once they started meeting at the YCCC, the Town provided the buses. However, she explained, as the Town’s transportation services to seniors to bring them to the Nutrition Center as well as for shopping and medical appointments within Town have expanded over the years, she did not have the resources (buses and/or drivers) to transport seniors out of town. She said that she had advised the clubs last year that this service would no longer be available in 2012. Despite that notice, three clubs scheduled a total of five out of town luncheons for 2012 and made deposits.

It was also explained that the transportation to the luncheons that was being requested by the clubs was separate and apart from the $2,100 each club receives on an annual basis to subsidize special out of town trips selected by the clubs.

 

There was some disagreement over what actions the board may have taken when the issue was brought to their attention at previous meetings. While some participants thought that the board had promised to provide the transportation, Tony Grasso said that as someone who has attended all board meetings, he did not recall the board ever voting on the issue. What may have happened, he suggested, was that one person on the board said that the issue would be addressed. Supervisor Grace said he recalled that the board said, “It would work on it” but that no decision had been made. It was a mistake, he added, that the issue had not been dealt with.

 

Explaining that he was trying to get all the parties to “play together nicely in the sandbox,” Supervisor Grace said he didn’t want to get involved in issues of equity and fairness among the different clubs which vary in size from 45-200 members. Nor did he want to micro manage the clubs.Acting on his suggestion, the board voted 4-0 with Councilman Paganelli abstaining because some of the clubs hold their functions at Traveler’s Rest, to consider 2012 a transition year that would provide every club with transportation, including to out of town sites, once only this year in a 14 passenger van. The offer wouldbe extended to clubs that have not previously asked for transportation. The board will also develop a policy for the following year so that everyone will know exactly what services and resources would be available to them in the future. ( It was not clear if the policy for next year would continue to provide luncheon transportation within town. ) The cost of providing this additional service for 2012 was not discussed.

 

Mr. Grasso and Jennie Menton were not pleased with the compromise and accused the board of giving in to the people with the loudest mouths and having done a disservice to their own employees.


Town Board, 3/6/2012

During Courtesy of the Floor Rhoda Sussman, representing Senior Clubs 1 & 2, asked for clarification about the availability of the town’s senior vans to take club members to four special luncheons scheduled this year at the Cortlandt Colonial Restaurant. Councilman Bianco said he thought that this issue had been resolved earlier and that the drivers would work flexible schedules on those days. Supervisor Grace said he would work it out.


Town Board, 1/17/2012

During Courtesy of the Floor, Rhoda Sussman, president of Seniors Chapter 1 and vice president of Chapter 2 started to raise the issue of transportation to the seniors’ annual Christmas luncheon at the Cortlandt Colonial restaurant when Supervisor Grace and Councilman Bianco interrupted her to say that the problem had been solved. At issue was the availability of the town’s senior van to transport people to the restaurant without incurring overtime costs. The problem was solved during the board's pre-session discussion when it was deciced that the time for the luncheon could be adjusted and that flextime could be used to adjust the schedule for the drivers.