Town Entities Laying Out Budget Needs
Council on Aging reps. were among those stating their case for funds before the selectmen on Monday.
The Lynnfield Senior Center could be forced to scale back some of its services without some assistance from the coming FY12 budget, reported some of its leading supporters at Monday night's selectmen's meeting.
Lynnfield Council on Aging Director Linda Naccara discussed the current state of strained resources at the senior center, which has become an increasingly popular and successful institution in recent years.
Senior Center Offers Numerous Programs
She reported that the town currently serves about 200 seniors with as many as 16 different programs on any given day. In fact, nearly one-third of Lynnfield's population now consists of senior citizens, she noted.
"We are really fortunate to have such a caring and devoted staff," said Naccara. "They are there for the love of the age group and the love of the job."
One of the top budget priorities is to increase the current 20-hour per week cook position to 30 hours, saying that it is "not humanly possible" to meet his current responsibilities in the current time frame.
More Hours Requested For Activity Director, Receptionist
The Council on Aging is also seeking to bring up the current 25-hour activity director and receptionist position to 30, noting that the current staff is extremely strained and is already offering more services with fewer workers than senior centers in some nearby towns.
"We are a lifeline, we are helping people stay independent," added Naccara.
Service Cutbacks Could Be On The Horizon
Among those also speaking on behalf of the Council on Aging was board member Chris Foustoukos, who reiterated Naccara's point that without some budget assistance, the senior center will probably have to cut back on some services, such as transportation and meals. Worse, this could come at a time when the Market Street project is expected to bring more senior residents to town in the future.
"We all understand the gem that the senior center is to Lynnfield," said selectmen's chair Al Merritt. Fellow selectmen Arthur Bourque and Bob MacKendrick also found the requests from the Council on Aging to be merited, but warned of the extremely difficult budget choices facing the town this year.
"There is nothing we will be able to cut in the upcoming budget that will not have an impact on the services we provide," said Town Administrator Bill Gustus.