"Do whatever it takes to save it" was the message from more than two dozen Reynoldsburg senior citizens who showed up at Monday's city council meeting in support of the senior center.
“Do whatever it takes to save it” was the message from more than two dozen Reynoldsburg senior citizens who showed up at Monday’s city council meeting in support of the senior center.
Several also expressed support for the income tax increase request on the Nov. 8 ballot, if voter approval would mean saving city jobs and programs.
Eliminating the jobs of two employees at the center, 1520 Davidson Drive, was among a list of potential cuts discussed at last week’s city council finance committee meeting as officials search for ways to cover a projected $1.3-million shortfall in revenue next year.
Other possible cuts include the jobs of four police officers, plus all city-sponsored parks and recreation programs and all capital improvement projects.
Reynoldsburg voters will decide Nov. 8 whether to approve a 1-percent income tax increase that would raise the city’s income tax rate from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent beginning Jan. 1, 2012.
If approved, the increase would generate $5.8 million per year, according to city auditor Richard Harris. City officials have said the additional money would take care of the anticipated budget deficit and leave some money left over for future infrastructure needs.
Many of the residents at the Sept. 26 council meeting said they use the city’s senior center four or five days a week.
“That senior center is a lifeline to a lot of seniors,” resident Bill Purcell said. “They have their own place to go, they meet people their own age, have input and communication É they need that center.
“We also need to keep our police department and we just don’t want to cut that É so anything you guys can do, we‘re acceptable to. If you have to raise that 1 percent, raise it. Let’s get it done to save our people,” Purcell said.
For at least 30 years, the Reynoldsburg senior center has offered many amenities and activities.
“They offer a lot of things — day trips to places, exercise, cards, a library, luncheons, and classes for things,” Madeline McDaniel said. “We have a lot of activities and a large membership, and we do support the income tax and whatever it takes to save the recreation and the senior center.”
Frank D. Bolend, a Vietnam veteran, said he has been a member and volunteer at the senior center for the past eight years.
“The place is full most every day with seniors and if it is taken away, they will not have anything to do but pass away,” Bolend said. “We’ve got about 1,600 members, and it would be a hardship on all of these people not to have something to do.”
Seniors Donna Schiffer and Jeanne Wherley said they are concerned about the possibility of losing two longtime center employees, Jennifer Walsh and Judy Doran.
“The senior center is a life-saver for me, but please don’t cut the two women that run that place,” Wherley said.
Council president Bill Hills said he was pleased with all the seniors that came out to Monday’s council meeting and was “sincerely impressed with the complimentary statements” made about center employees.
Councilman Mel Clemens encouraged everyone who attended Monday’s council meeting to also attend the next finance committee meeting on Monday, Oct. 3, where discussions about Reynoldsburg’s budget will continue.
“That’s the important time to be here so you can hear, really, the situation the city is in and comments from different members of council and what we plan and hope we can do,” Clemens said.