MOIRA –– Part of the building that houses the Brushton-Moira Senior Center is owned by the town’s senior citizen organization. The other part is owned by the town of Moira. Recently, the seniors asked the town to take ownership of the entire building.
But there’s a catch. The seniors want to continue using the building, but at no cost.
The proposal came up for discussion at Monday’s Moira Town Board meeting, but no decision was made. “We are responding to your request,” said town Supervisor Justus Martin.
Right now, the senior center is used as a place for meetings, congregate meals and community activities.
The town would not change the activities that are currently taking place at the senior center, Martin said, but to cover basic operating costs, some type of financial arrangement would need to be discussed.
“Obviously, if we take ownership, then the town would be responsible for the upkeep,” Martin said. “If the senior center would pay rent, we would have to see what that would look like,” he said.
“The senior center has been taking care of the upkeep on this now, so if that would get switched to the town, there would have to be understanding of, ‘OK, is the senior center going to continue to take care of the upkeep like they have been, or are they going to pay rent or whatever we call it,’” Martin said, adding “but we are not yet at that point.”
One thing Martin said he does not want to do is raise taxes to cover the costs of operating the center.
“We just have to do it in a way that will not subject the taxpayers to any more of a burden and that will not affect the senior center in any negative way,” said Martin.
Martin says another town in the southern part of the county has taken over the senior center in that town, and he is looking into how they do things to possibly serve as a template for Moira.
“I found out that an organization in Tupper Lake has a similar arrangement, so about a month ago I asked for information on how they do it and I still have not received anything,” said Martin.
While seniors have said they want the town to take over the senior center, some say they don’t want to be responsible for the costs of operating the building.
“I can tell you right now that if we have to pay rent, then the deal is off,” said senior center member Isabelle Dorey.
Dorey says the aging population in Moira has already paid enough.
“Paying rent is not one of the options,” said Dorey. “If I want an apartment, I will go pay rent for that.”
Martin said more discussion on the proposal is needed before a decision will be made if the town will take over the senior center or not.
“It is not yet something that the board has discussed, but I am confident that it is something that we can figure out,” he said.