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Here’s The Scoop … Nary A Merry Christmas … For Those Turned Away ….

WHERE’S A GHOST WHEN YOU NEED ONE? …

Dear Readers … for some in Lauderdale- By- The- Sea it is hard to find something to be jolly about when emanating from Town Hall is  Scrooge-ette in all her inept and vindictive  glory!…The Senior Center is still in the throes of turning people away who do not fit the “profile” of the newly posted sign on the center’s door…Must be 60 years or over…Must be a resident of LBTS … (prev. posts) … We hear those who have long used the center and are now being turned away are in a state of utter disbelief …They are totally disillusioned with this Town …starting at the top with Town Manager Esther Colon right down to her staff and her unwavering, supportive commission members …Clottey…Silverstone and McIntee!…

In this writer’s opinion…The Town Manager is doing major payback for the spot she finds herself in this holiday season…She chose the wrong allies in these 3 (and they in her!) …. When we all left the commission meeting in November it was with the understanding that the Senior Center requirements put forth by Commissioner (Clueless) Clottey would be only applicable to those monies coming from the Broward County Community Grant…And those participantswho did not fit the HUD criteria would be “covered” by the Town’s larger portion of the funding…..

After hearing what was going on at the Senior Center last week Commissioner Dodd sent the Town Manager the following e-mail … on December 18, 2009

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“Senior Center:

I understand the town is now limiting the use of this facility to people over 60 who are residents. Can you please point me in the right direction so I can do my own research where it says that this town must limit the age of entrants because the center is partly but not fully funded by a Broward grant. If it is our own town rules then I would like to place an item on the agenda for the next meeting to change them . If it is by decree from Broward I would like a copy of their rules and to whom we can appeal on behalf of the town since there are a number of “Snow birds” , High income, tourists, non residents who have been enjoying the center’s activities. I feel they help our town, bring revenue into our town and have every right to participate in town activities while they are here. Isn’t it town money, town taxes and a town paid and appointed contractor who oversees the operation of the center.

Stuart Dodd”

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On December 23, 2009 the Town Manager responded and sent a copy of the agreement approved by the commission “as it pertains to the Senior Center- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) …adding the document was in their 11/10/09 backup…”and it indicates the mandates that LBTS must follow”.. The TM went onto add that due to the questions that arose at that meeting (Comm. Clottey made statements ) …the TM sent a letter to the Director of the Senior Center to “ensure that he as the contractor of the LBTS Senior Center does not violate any terms of the grant.”.. She went onto add those terms..

“1. Grant funds were received for operations of a Senior Center and the age requirement of 60 is per the Older American Act,

2. Income is mandated per HUD annual income limit.

3. Broward County residency is mandated as per Broward County grant funds. Are the snowbirds considered residents of Broward County or just property owners?

As informed at the 11/10/09 Commission meeting, records will be audited to ensure compliance. The alternative is that you propose LBTS absorb all the cost associated with the senior center and have the participation open to everyone that you desire. The funding that LBTS would no longer be eligible for would be available to other municipalities that followed the CDBG guidelines.  Respectively submitted ” TM EC…

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Before this writer submits my opinion …included in the agreement package was the following…

“Agreement Between Broward County And Lauderdale-By-The-Sea for Senior Center Activities And Operation In The Amount Of $24,275 Providing For Funding And Administration  Of 35th Year Community Block Grant Programs”…

“Exibit A” –

“Project Description” The Senior Center Activities Project will provide activities for seniors including computer classes and water color classes, tap and line dancing, beginning and intermediate bridge classes, exercise and yoga classes. A provider will be contracted to provide the activities for seniors who are 60 years and older.

As of September 30, 2008 activity enrollment is 5,465 and there were 414 seniors registered in the Senior Center Programs. The scheduled class activities last fiscal year was 972.

One of the methods that will be used by the provider to measure participation is to count the numbers of seniors who participate in activities. The goal each month is to serve (80) clients and when registering for programs, seniors must show proof of residency.

This project is to provide SUPPORTIVE  services for LIMITED CLIENTELE located at the Jarvis Hall 4505 Ocean Drive, Lauderdale-By-The Sea, 33308″

“CDCG HUD National Objective: 570.208(a)(2) Limited Clientele”

“Exhibit B”-

“Budget Narrative

CDBG Funding Source

The CDBG Funding Source will ASSIST the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea to contract a provider to administer the activities of the Senior Center which will cost the Town $57,750.00 annually.

NON-CDBG Funding Source (s)

The Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea will contract a provider to administer the activities of the Senior Center

General Fund $33,475.

The Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea will provide suitable space and use of existing resources to provide classes and activities. Use of the space to conduct these classes and activities will be held approximately six hours per day, five days per week throughout the year. Utilities, maintenance and insurance will also be provided.

General Fund $28, 875.”

There is also a monthly progress report “Exhibit D” which includes the following …

“C.3. Describe success or problems encountered with the project:”

Response- ” Successes include a steady increase in the computer classes and daily activities.”

“C.4. Anticipated problems or concerns with project. Please identify technical assistance needed and/or requested from Housing and Community Development staff.”

Reply- “There are no anticipated problems or concerns with the Senior Center activities program. IT CONTINUES TO BE ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR PROGRAMS THE TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA OFFERS ITS CITIZENS.”

“C.5. Anticipated advertisements and/or other contractual service. If so, has the Housing and Community Development staff been advised and appropriate steps taken to assure compliance?”

Reply- “N/A”

“C.6. If applicable, please complete the following Direct Benefit Report Form on all program participants.”

“Income Data”

“Very Low Income”

Reply-“<30% of area median”

“Low Income”

Reply- ” <50% of area median

“Moderate income”

Reply- “<80% of area median”

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Hmmm…  The Town Manager responds to Commissioner Dodd “The alternative is that you propose LBTS absorb all the cost associated with the senior center and have the participation open to everyone that you desire”…(Can’t ya just hear her tone?)…”That YOU desire!”…YIKES!…

I wonder if the Town Manager has indeed spoken to the Town Attorney on where we stand since the Town Attorney offered up no counter to the offer to”split” who falls under what category with this grant when discussed at that meeting…After all, the Town is supplying the larger portion of center’s funding and it seems this very important question should have been looked in to. It is far more than the attorney’s time used on the McIntee-Silverstone-Clottey-Colon driven “anonymous letters” or “Greenfest” used to go after the Mayor!…If the Town Attorney and Ralph Stone, the Director of the Broward County Housing Finance and Community Development Division both agree we cannot cover those who have actively participated in the Senior Center activities any longer…YES… we do need to say goodbye to the $24, 275 Broward County Grant and the Town should take the program over 100%… We have the funds …This current majority and Town Manager have used funds for items that had a much lesser impact than this!… Here’s just a few…The Pelican Hopper… The consensus prior to pre-election mode “campaigning” from the dais was that if the costs were to be increased to the town and the ridership was to remain low…get rid of it…The loudest respondent at the time was Vice Mayor McIntee…Never mind that…the item was never put back on the agenda when the dollar amount came back in the Town Manager report…It was just magically and unilaterally put on the 2009-10 budget as a done deal…A recent letter from the county again says the ridership is too low…(no surprise there)… For this fiscal year the taxpayers will pay approx. $43, 758 …Same goes for the still stagnant in the 2nd year McIntee -driven swimming program at the Public safety building, in  the budget for $12,000 .. .and the $10,000 for the Clottey Concert series……How about the N. Tradewinds blacktop passed 3-2 (McIntee/Silverstone/ Clottey) for over $50,000 etc…etc… etc.. If need be …let the commission direct the Manager to come up with an annual fee for the program.. at a reasonable rate…

The Town Manager true to form, curtly answers Commissioner Dodd  that if we let those under 60/non-residents back in and cover the costs without the county grant…(if the Town Atty. and the HFCD Director agree) “The funding that LBTS would no longer be eligible for would be available to other municipalities that followed the CDBG guidelines.”… Where in the heck are her priorities?…It was after all her staff that stated…”IT CONTINUES TO BE ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR PROGRAMS THE TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA OFFERS ITS CITIZENS.”

So perhaps, the Ghost of Christmas future will make a special stop tonight…and show “Scrooge-ette”…the error of her ways!…

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight ..sleep well …..

more to come…

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