Kennett Square funds senior center for first time

Anita O'Connor

KENNETT SQUARE >> After watching neighboring municipalities for years help fund the Kennett Area Senior Center, Kennett Square council has decided it’s high time they do so as well.

In a 5-2 vote, council this week agreed to donate $4,000 to the senior center. Councilors Dan Maffei and Chip Plumley dissented.

“A large number of our members are borough residents,” said Anita O’Connor, senior center director. “These funds will be used for wellness and independence programs that help to keep our seniors in their community.”

It is the first time Kennett Square has agreed to send funds to the senior center.

Because the senior center doesn’t communicate frequently with the borough, not all borough officials wanted to agree to agency’s request, which was submitted to the borough in October, 2014. Because it somehow got lost, council didn’t learn of the request until recently.

“I’m a little disappointed the way this came across,” Maffei said, noting he supports the senior center and its activities. In October, we’re crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s, and not considering new requests.

Instead of a flat $4,000 donation, Maffei suggested a per capita donation. He said New Garden Township, which contributes $2,700 per year to the senior center, has 11,984 residents, or 22 cents per capita, and Kennett Township contributes $2,500 annually to the senior center, and has 7,565 residents, or 33 cents per capita. But Kennett Square, with 6,129 residents would be contributing 65 cents per capita if it donated $4,000.

Because 200 borough residents use the senior center, it means the borough is contributing $20 for every resident who uses the facility.

“I would be supportive of some type of contribution this year, but I don’t think $4,000 is appropriate,” Maffei said.

Leon Spencer, council president, said senior center officials should work on vetting a better relationship with council.

“I don’t know that if we as a council have ever had a close relationship with the senior center,” he said. “In situations like this, it suggests to me we need to be better aligned with this agency. I know they are challenged fiscally.”

Joe Scaliese, interim borough manager, said the money is available as the borough made $15,000 from auctioning off one of its trucks.

O’Connor said the senior center will work with council in a cooperative fashion in the future.

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