Janesville71.1°

Budget ax could fall on senior center director

Print Print
ANN MARIE AMES
November 17, 2007
— Village Administrator Philip Rath is trying to close a door and open a window.

But when the door’s been in place for 17 years, it’s not easy.


Rath is proposing to cut the position of senior center director from the village’s 2008 budget for a savings of $12,232. Village resident Ruth Mabie has been the center director for 17 years.


Rath is proposing to put $5,130 into center programming. The village has not historically spent on programs for seniors.


“This isn’t by any means intended to devalue the program or what’s being provided there,” Rath said. “This is an opportunity to build that and sustain it.”


The village board will hold a public hearing on the issue at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Clinton Village Hall, 301 Cross St., Clinton. The board could take action that night.


The center will stay open, and the village still will pay utilities. The nutrition program will be available.


But the director position isn’t necessary, Rath said, and the money could be better spent on finding new programs to boost membership. It would also keep seniors from having to raise funds.


Senior center members or village residents will have to take a leadership role, he said.


Center member Anna Potratz said that’s not going to happen.


“We don’t have a large enough town base to find a volunteer who could do the job,” Potratz said.


Mabie schedules activities and entertainment, makes appointments for the center’s transportation program and sets up blood pressure and foot clinics or meetings with a senior benefit specialist, among other things.


She thinks programs will be at risk without one person at the helm.


“I want the village to know they need one person in charge,” Mabie said. “I think it’s asking too much to ask the people who use the building to coordinate all that.”


Rath said he must keep taxpayers of all ages and situations in mind when he writes a budget. And in 2007, with a $12,360 salary for Mabie and a $10,040 operating cost, the owner of a $100,00 home would have spent $13.59 on the center. Mabie requested a salary of $17,472 for 2008, so that homeowner would have paid $14.91.


Rath said it’s hard to justify the position without a system to measure the success and growth of the program.


“There’s nothing to measure that on,” Rath said. “So when you sit in my chair, and you’ve got taxpayers saying taxes are too high, utilities are too high, what are you going to do?”


VILLAGE OF CLINTON


Here’s a look at the 2008 proposed budget for the village of Clinton.


The board will host a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Clinton Village Hall, 301 Cross St., Clinton. The budget in detail is available to the public in the clerk’s office, 301 Cross St., from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and on the village’s new Web site, www.clintonwi.us.


Total budget


Next year: $1.412 million


This year: $1.407 million


Percent increase: 0.35%


Tax levy


Next year: $703,831


This year: $683,073


Percent increase: 2.95%


Tax rate


(Per $1,000 of assessed valuation)


Next year: $11.35*


This year: $10.50


Percent increase: 8.1%


Note: Percent changes calculated on whole numbers.


* This number is an estimate made by Village Administrator Philip Rath.



Print Print