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Senior center requests funding from city

November 29, 2012
The Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - The Senior Citizens Service Center of Gloversville & Fulton County, which is seeking funding from the city, is unsure how much longer it can afford to stay open.

Eugene Reppenhagen, the president of the center's Board of Directors, spoke to the Common Council at its meeting Tuesday.

"Whatever the city can give us will be 100 percent more than we got last year," Reppenhagen said. "We would like to get $10,000 but anything less than that would be fine too. Our goal was to get back into the budget and show the city we provide services to a lot of people in the area."

Article Photos

From left, Mary Lou Berkins-Adams, Betty L. Myers and Barbara DiMarco prepare Wednesday for the
Pancake Breakfast with Santa fundraiser at the Senior Citizens Service Center of Gloversville & Fulton County. The fundraiser will be held
Saturday from 8 to 11 a.m.
The Leader-Herald/ Levi Pascher

The council passed a budget for 2013 with no funding for the center.

However, 1st Ward Councilwoman Robin Wentworth said the council could come back and amend the budget to include aid for the senior center.

Wentworth also said the council would like to meet with the board to discuss where the senior center stands financially before providing money.

Reppenhagen said the senior center currently receives $7,500 from the town of Johnstown and an additional $500 from the town of Day.

Reppenhagen said the building's mortgage is covered by the current tenant, the Fulmont Community Action Agency, and it does receive small grants. However, he said the primary income for the Senior Center has been through donations and fundraisers.

"We have a lot of active new members on the Board of Directors that have been providing thousands of dollars," Reppenhagen said.

The board has had five new members in the past six months and donated $15,000 in the past two months to keep the senior center open, board member Gerard McAuliffe said.

"I feel that every day we can give seniors in this city an opportunity to utilize that facility is improving and maintaining a good quality of life," McAuliffe said. "It is important for the city to provide some assistance to the individuals that built this city on their backs."

Reppenhagen also said the budget for 2013 hasn't been decided but he is expecting it to be much lower this year without an executive director.

The center's officials announced last month that Executive Director Catherine Mueller would no longer have her job because the position has been eliminated in an effort to cut costs and keep the center open.

The budget for 2012 was $83,000 and in 2011 Mueller made about $24,000, Board of Directors President Eugene Reppenhagen said. He said the facility itself cost about $8,000 a month to operate.

"We had a great deal of difficulty determining what our financial situation was and we are still finding unpaid bills because the filling system," Reppenhagen said. "We need operating cash for 2013, though."

Reppenhagen said he is unsure how long the center will be able to stay open if it doesn't receive additional assistance soon. He said the senior center will hopefully remain open through 2013.

Reppenhagen said the center provides intergenerational use of the facility for both seniors and children to organize parties, meetings and other activities. He also said many clubs and organizations use the facility to hold its meetings on a regular basis.

He said last year the center had about 19,300 visitors, but he couldn't give a figure for this year.

The center uses a variety of fundraisers to generate money for the operational costs but that alone can't make up the difference, Reppenhagen said.

One of the fundraisers the senior center has been offering is a Wii Bowling league for seniors in the community, and this Saturday from 8 to 11 a.m. it will be holding a Pancake Breakfast with Santa. The event will cost $3 for children and $6 for adults and the purchase of a meal ticket will include a free picture with Santa courtesy of the Gloversville Teachers Association.

"We try to keep going with the fundraisers but they can only generate so much," Barbara DiMarco said while preparing for the breakfast with Santa event. "We need whatever help we can get."



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